Banerjee meets business magnates, officials ahead of London trip

Kolkata (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday met a host of businessmen and officials who would be part of her London trip beginning July 26.

Banerjee is slated to leave for London with a 100-strong delegation to seek foreign investment for her financially-depleted state. At least 40 of the members are likely to be from the business community, officials said.

State Finance Minister Amit Mitra, Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra would be among those accompanying the chief minister during the five-day tour.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Surajit Purkayashta, film-actor turned politician Deepak Adhikary alias Dev, and party Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien will be part of the official delegation.

People present at the preparatory meeting said the tour would strive to showcase the state before foreign entrepreneurs and draw investment in various sectors.

At least 30 MOUs are lined up in areas like health, tourism, infrastructure and education.

During the visit, UK India Business Council (UKIBC) will jointly host a seminar with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and other partners highlighting Bengal as an investment delegation.

Banerjee will also be present in a separate session inviting investment for the upcoming financial hub being set up at the satellite township of Rajarhat.

Among the industrialists set to be a part of the delegation are ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar, Patton Group managing director Sanjay Budhia, Confederation of Indian Industries president Sumit Majumdar, Videocon director Anirudh Dhoot, and Apollo Hospitals joint managing director Sangita Reddy.

The chief minister is scheduled to commence her engagements on July 27 with visits to London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Royal College of General Practitioners, before attending a reception for her at the Buckingham Palace, the London residence of Queen Elizabeth II, hosted by Prince Andrew, younger brother of Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.

This will be followed by a meeting with British Minister of State for Employment Priti Patel, who is of Indian origin, and signing of memoranda of agreement at the Foreign Office.

Other items in Banerjee’s itinerary include a round table conference at the Asia House, a look at London’s transport system, trip to Scotland Yard and paying floral tributes at statues of Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi.

Banerjee had headed a business delegation to Singapore last August.

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