Kolkata, Aug 17: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today embarked on her maiden foreign visit to Singapore for attracting investment and partnership, even as opposition parties expressed scepticism about the state gaining anything from her initiative.
Banerjee has been accompanied by a “very high level” official and business delegation on her first trip abroad, state Finance Minister Amit Mitra said, but did not divulge names of those participating. Sceptical of “her ability to bring in any investment”, opposition parties claimed that the Trinamool Congress government’s policies on land and the fate of Tata Motors’ Singur factory could act as deterrents.
BJP Secretary Siddharth Nath Singh questioned the five-day long visit, saying, “She will have a meeting on one day, what will she do on the other four days?” “She had earlier organised ‘Bengal Leads’, bur what we have seen is ‘Bengal bleeds’. People’s money is being wasted,” Singh told reporters here.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee President Adhir Chowdhury, who too was also critical of the visit, said, “In a state where the Tata (Motors) left, I doubt whether any foreign investor will set foot there.”
Questioning TMC dispensation’s seriousness, CPI(M) leadership said though the efforts to attract investment was a welcome move, whether the government succeeds was to be seen.
“In the last three years we have not seen any investment. Now the chief minister is going abroad to attract investment. It is a welcome move, but the taste of the pudding is in eating it,” party MP Mohd Salim told PTI. “Seriousness of the purpose is in doubt,” he said.
Banerjee, who is going on an invitation from the Singapore government, would use the opportunity to attract foreign investment, Mitra had said recently. During a programme here on Thursday, Banerjee had said, “If anyone wants to set up industry in Bengal, they are most welcome. We have also started the initiative of skill development. Companies like Samsung and Raymonds are partnering with us.”
Talking about the availability of land for industries in Bengal, Mitra had said, “The state government has set up land banks and land parks from where industries have availed plots. The state government has ample land in those land banks.”