Mittal meets Mamata at her Kolkata residence

Wednesday 17th January 2018 05:06 EST

Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman & CEO of ArcelorMittal, and his wife Usha met Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her residence in Kolkata last week. During the meeting which lasted more than 30 minutes, they discussed about investment opportunities in Bengal.

Mamata had met Mittal on November 14 at his Kensington Palace Gardens residence during her visit to London. The CM was in the UK capital to unveil a commemorative plaque at Sister Nivedita's family home at Wimbledon. Mamata had invited the Mittals as special guests for the ‘Biswa Banga Sammelan’ to be held in January in New Town, Kolkata. Sources said Mittal promised Mamata that he would try his best to attend the event. They are believed to have discussed business matters in that meeting too.

ArcelorMittal has a design and engineering centre in Kolkata’s electronics hub at Salt Lake’s area which provides consultancy services for steel companies. The Mittals last came to Kolkata in July 7 this year to inaugurate ‘Lakshmi & Usha Mittal Foundation Building’ at St Xavier's University.

Mittal completed his graduation in Commerce in 1976 from Kolkata’s St Xavier's College. He left for Indonesia to expand his father’s steel business. His father ML Mittal set up a steel business in Kolkata in the 60s.

Mamata pitches for investment in Bengal

Inaugurating the Global Business Summit, an annual investors meet organised by the State government, Mamata on Tuesday made a pitch for investments in the eastern region and not just for West Bengal. “Invest in Bengal. Bengal means business. But, also invest in the other eastern states like Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand. They too have a lot of potential,” the Chief Minister said.

Investment in the east and particularly, West Bengal would mean a better connectivity to the North-Eastern States and improved regional connectivity to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar; and to ASEAN nations like Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore and others.

Union Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari who was supposed to attend the event boycotted it after reports of clashes between the BJP and TMC in West Bengal over the last few days. However, top-line industrialists like Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries; Mittal; Ajay Singh, Chairman, SpiceJet; Uday Kotak, CMD, Kotak Mahindra Bank; Future Group’s Kishore Biyani and Sajjan Jindal, Chairman, JSW Group were present at the event.

Also present were city businessmen that included the likes to Sanjiv Goenka, Chairman, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group; Sanjiv Puri, CEO, ITC Ltd; CS Ghosh, MD and CEO, Bandhan Bank; Saroj Poddar, Chairman, Adventz Group; Umesh Chowdhary, MD of Titagarh Wagons; and others.

Red Carpet for Industry

Banerjee, however, was clear that while she was ready to roll out the red carpet for industry, agriculture had to coexist. According to the Chief Minister, industry and industry captains would not be hounded in the state. And even, her party members would not be spared if they tried to disrupt industry. “Industry can not be disturbed at any cost. And even my party members will not be spared if they try to disturb industry,” she said.

However, agriculture too has to coexist. “Industry and agriculture are like sisters and they need to be happy together,” the Chief Minister said.

Investment Commitments

So far, West Bengal has secured investment commitments to the tune of over £1.5 billion. While Sajjan Jindal’s JSW Group committed to drawing up an investment plan of £1 billion to be made towards steel, cement and paints. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd committed to an additional £500 million of investments in non-Jio business; apart from investing towards laying of optical fibre cable network for Jio services.

Sanjeev Goenka, Chairman of RP Sanjiv Goenka Group will invest £100 million towards its power distribution business; and also promised to set up a FMCG park (whose investment has not yet been specified).

On the other hand, Saroj Poddar committed to another £100 million investments in the state. SpiceJet, according to its Chairman, Ajay Singh, will explore making operational flight services from the Andal airport to Hyderabad and Bengaluru. It will also explore beginning sea plane services in the state.

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