West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday virtually inaugurated two major green projects worth around Rs 1226 crore to be built by European Union countries in Kolkata and East Midnapore district.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for these projects were signed at the global business summit held at the beach town of Digha in East Midnapore in December 2019.
The ambassadors of Italy, Netherlands and the European Union and the deputy ambassador of Germany took part in the virtual inauguration.
One project involves waste management and sustainable development at the Kolkata Leather Complex at Bantala in the eastern outskirts of the city. It involves foreign investment worth three million Euros (around Rs 26 crore), said the chief minister and will be built in collaboration with Dutch partners.
The second is a solar power project worth Rs 1200 crore to be set up in East Midnapore by a German company. The West Bengal government will invest Rs 200 crore in the project. Once complete, it will generate 350 million units of power annually.
“I am happy to announce that the projects are being inaugurated within six months of signing the MoU. Where there is a will there is a way. The leather complex project will create five lakh jobs and help medium, small and micro enterprises grow. Several leather companies from other states have also set up units at Bantala,” said Banerjee.
State finance minister Amit Mitra said the solar power project will save the climate from 50,000 tons of carbon emission every year.
“Sustainability is the way to go forward in future. We look forward to friends and partners. India is the largest exporter of leather goods in the world and Europe is the largest market,” said Ugo Astuto, the EU ambassador to India.
Addressing Banerjee, Italian ambassador to India Vincenzo de Luca said, “Without your leadership we could not have promoted our objective in West Bengal and could not have been able to share our expertise and technology. The challenge is to promote green energy in India and Europe.”
Marten van den Berg, the ambassador of Netherlands, said, “We look forward to work internationally with West Bengal, Italy, Germany and European Union.”
For Banerjee, who has been accused on numerous occasions by the opposition parties of failing to bring in foreign investment despite her trips to many countries since 2011, Wednesday’s development could help the Trinamool Congress politically in the run-up to the assembly polls to be held in 2021.
Recently, even governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had taken up the issue and sought details of the outcome of the Global Business Summit that the state government holds every year.
“WORRISOME (ELOQUENT) SILENCE of otherwise vocal FM @MamataOfficial on details of Bengal Global Business Summit speaks volumes. Baffling- Why not give details of claimed ‘resounding success’ investment of over Rs 12.30 lakh crores investment! Is there nothing to showcase!” Dhankhar tweeted on August 31.
“Surely there should be accountability of spending crores on ‘futile’ extravaganza @MamataOfficial. Corruption by way of favoritism and patronage calls for probe. My worst fear- was it ‘dream merchant’ affair! Just a PR exercise! Awaiting CM response!” he said in another tweet, tagging the chief minister.