Siliguri (WB), Dec 6 (PTI) North Bengal has received investments worth Rs 2,345 crore in the past two years through various CII initiatives, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra has said at the 5th North Bengal Conclave.

The state government has also received an Expression of Interest (EoI) for new investments to the tune of Rs 888 crore at the Conclave, Mitra told the industry members in a video address yesterday.

“During Agro Synergy in May, it (investment)was approximately 600 crore. If we combine the 2015 proposed investments and the new projects the figure comes to a staggering Rs 2345.82 crore. This is just an indicative figure,” Mitra said.

Stressing that the region offers huge potential, Mitra assured the investors of doing everything to attract investments in North Bengal. The minister also said that West Bengal stands at number one in the country in e-taxation.

The CII organised the 5th North Bengal Conclave in association with West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), Government of West Bengal.

State Tourism Minister Gautam Deb, who made a strong case for North Bengal as a formidable educational hub, spoke on the need to improve connectivity in the region through development of Asian Highway 2 and 48.

“These highways will connect North Bengal with South East Asian countries via Myanmar. Improved connectivity with Bangladesh through road, rail and air is also imperative. A proposal for promoting tea tourism is being prepared at present,” Deb said.

The tourism minister also invited investors for the Rs 2,200-crore Gazaldoba tourism project, spanning 208 acres.

Apart from resorts, an ayurvedic spa, youth hostel, hospitality training centre, bird watching centre, golf course, boating, and jeep safaris have been planned on the site.

He also spoke on the need for exploring Buddhist tourism circuits in the region.

“Buddhist tourism circuits will draw people from Nepal, Bhutan and other South East Asian countries,” Deb said.

Speaking on the occasion, State’s North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghose stressed on the need for stronger trade ties with Bangladesh and bigger investments in North Bengal.

North Bengal Development Secretary Barun Ray said the budgetary allocation for North Bengal has increased by over 500 crore in the recent times.

Earlier, Rajiv Lochan, Chairman of CII North Bengal Zonal Council, had said North Bengal was fast becoming an attractive investment destination.

“The place offers a wide variety of options both for big as well as small investors of various sectors, including manufacturing, tourism, tea tourism, real estate, healthcare, education, agriculture and floriculture, food processing and IT,” Lochan said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.