JOY ROY CHOUDHURY – Kolkata
The West Bengal government has announced its industrial policy to attract investment and provide incentives to new entrepreneurs. Tourism has been mentioned as a focus sector in the policy which was unveiled recently by Partha Chatterjee, commerce & industries minister, West Bengal. The policy envisages to promote private sector investment in greenfield projects, brownfield projects and through Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects.
Under the new draft industrial policy, the government will provide exemption on stamp duty, employment generation subsidy, waiver of land conversion fee, tax holiday on VAT returns, etc, to new projects coming up in the state. The government will soon publish a document on the new industry policy. The government is also looking to develop five mega tourism projects and intends to attract investments worth Rs 3,560 crore through the PPP route.
“We have also incorporated in our draft policy the issues of land allocation and several incentive schemes which we will be offering to entrepreneurs who will invest in our state for the purpose of setting up their units. The state government was open to suggestions from various chambers and industries and we will incorporate those, if found practical, in the final industry policy,” said Chatterjee.
Mamata Banerjeee, chief minister, West Bengal also reiterated her government’s commitment to develop infrastructure and promote tourism. “We will promote tourism in such a manner that Darjeeling, Terai and Dooars function as a tourism circuit. The new tourism spots will be developed at Rohini, Jorebunglow, Tukdah and Deolo in Darjeeling. A ‘film city’ at Siliguri in the Terai and an ‘entertainment park’ at Banarhat in Dooars is also on the list of upcoming projects.The chief minister also inaugurated the renovated Tashiding Tourist Lodge in Kalimpong owned by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation(WBTDC). Meanwhile, the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) recently formed a tourism co-ordination committee comprising government departments and representatives of private tourism stakeholders to run the sector in an organised manner in the hills. Bimal Gurung, chief executive, GTA, informed that the administration has members that include officials from the forest department, regional transport authority, chairpersons of Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong and Mirik municipalities, and representatives of hotel owners, transport and tour operators and tea industry from different parts of the hills.