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Days after private cargo handler ABG Haldia Bulk Terminals pulled out from the port, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) on Wednesday voiced concern about the need to build pro-industry sentiment in the state.
Speaking after the chamber's national executive committee (NEC) meeting in the city, where, in a break from the usual practice, no state minister was invited, Ficci president R V Kanoria said, “It does not require me to say that there is need to build pro-industry sentiment in the state.”
Although some of the Ficci officials, including Kanoria, had earlier in the day met chief minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat, he confirmed it was an internal decision not to invite state ministers in the meeting. “We decided to hold the meeting without external people, which is better for discussion,” he said. Last year, Banerjee was invited by Ficci to address NEC members in the city.
Athough she did not attend, finance minister Amit Mitra (a former secretary-general of Ficci) and industry minister Partha Chatterjee represented the state government at the meeting.
And, Banerjee’s predecessor, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, was a regular fixture at such meetings.
“In the case of an outstation NEC meeting, the general norm is to invite the chief minister of the respective state. For example, in Chennai earlier this year, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was invited. As she could not attend, Tamil Nadu’s industry minister and finance minister addressed the meeting,” an official of Ficci said.
Responding to a query, Kanoria requested “not to read too much” into the matter. He also refused to comment on the ABG pull-out issue, as “facts are not known”.
On Wednesday's edition of the NEC meeting was the first big event of Ficci in the city after it earned the state government's wrath for an open letter seeking release of AMRI directors from judicial custody last year.
Meanwhile, according to Kanoria, Ficci has invited Banerjee to address the chamber’s annual general meeting in Delhi. He said there was “a very positive meeting” with her and praised the CM for her “child-like enthusiasm” for developing the tourism sector. A proposal to hold an industry meet with a focus on investment opportunities in the eastern region was also discussed in the meeting with her.