West Bengal bags S'pore investments

BUILDING TIES: West Bengal Chief Minister Banerjee calling on Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on Tuesday.


    Aug 21, 2014

    West Bengal bags S'pore investments

    INDIA'S West Bengal state has secured at least US$32 million (S$40 million) in infrastructure funding from Singapore, as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee looks to shake off perceptions of being less business-friendly than Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Singapore's GIC will invest through the private equity HDFC Property Fund for a planned town in the state capital, while InfraCo Asia will help develop a food park, according to statements from the West Bengal government.

    "This is a start," Amit Mitra, Minister of Finance, Commerce and Industries in Ms Banerjee's government, said in an interview in Singapore.

    "If individual Singaporean companies want 20 acres, 30 acres, 50 acres, 100 acres, 200 acres (of land). It's available right now," he said.

    Ms Banerjee's administration and Singapore will jointly set up a business centre in Kolkata, to facilitate ties with the city state, according to an online statement yesterday.

    This is her first overseas tour since she took office in 2011. In 2008, Ms Banerjee had headed a campaign demanding that Tata Motors return land acquired from farmers to build a factory.

    In 2012, she pulled out of the ruling coalition, opposing the then government's decision to allow foreign retailers into India.

    "Because of past experiences, a big concern for investors is whether her government will stick to its commitments and move ahead with them," said Shishir Bajpai, senior vice-president at IIFL Asset Management in Mumbai.