Amit hawks tourism but investors wary

New Delhi, Jan. 16: About Rs 4,000-crore of tourism projects in Bengal are in the pipeline for investors with assured availability of land, state finance minister Amit Mitra said here today.

"There is no problem of land acquisition as the government has already allotted land to these projects. If someone else is saying otherwise then they have vested interest and are spreading misinformation. We want businessmen to come to the state and invest without any fear," Mitra said at a Ficci conclave, adding that the state has set up a single-window system to process business projects.

However, investors did not seem to be convinced and most of them had no plans to invest in the state now.

"The plans are good, but the problem is that the ground reality is different. Infrastructure is a major concern as roads are in a bad state. We need to see that better facilities are available before we move in. States such as Sikkim are a much better option for investments," said Naresh Chandnani, regional director business development Worldhotels.

Debashis Ghosal, MD of Daiwik Hotels, which runs hotels in South India, said he was "not sure about the single-window system actually working on the ground".

Mitra, however, assured investors of a problem-free environment and claimed that the land being offered for the projects had been cleared and earmarked by the government and were "dispute free".

He also invited India Inc to invest in Bengal, where GDP growth is higher than that of the country.

"Our first-quarter GDP growth was 8.08 per cent and second quarter's was 6.48 per cent. Tax collection is up 35 per cent. All these factors should provide a good business environment for investors," added Mitra.

Vikram Sen, principal secretary of Bengal's tourism department, gave a detailed presentation on opportunities in the state at the event.

He spoke about five major projects, including the chief minister's pet project ' the Gajoldoba tourism hub worth Rs 1, 500 crore.

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