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Bitter exchange with Tata a closed chapter: Bengal government

Posted on Aug 15 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, Aug 14 : The West Bengal government Thursday said its bitter exchange of words with Tata Sons' chairman emeritus Ratan Tata regarding industrialisation in the state was a "closed chapter".

In an interview to a private TV channel Thursday night, state Finance and Industries Minister Amit Mitra hoped Tata by now must have understood that a factory cannot come up on the city road between the Kolkata airport and Rajarhat.

"I am sure by now someone must have informed him about that. I am sure he must have understood this. So, the chapter now stands closed," Mitra said.

He said the problem lay in an eminent industrialist like him making some comments, which are "twisted by the media".

"Even if such comments are wrong, the media twists it to show that industrialisation is not happening in West Bengal. It only injures the pride of the people of our state," he said.

The leading industrialist created a furore Aug 6 when he said he could not see much signs of industrial development during a drive to the city from the Kolkata airport via Rajarhat area.

"A day after his comment, I replied. He then tweeted. I again gave a reply. He is a respected figure. But people expect him to know a factory cannot come up on the side of the road between the airport and Rajarhat," Mitra said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed her state was now the No.1 in India in areas like skill development and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).

"We are now becoming No.1 in everything. I say be jealous, and try to compete with us. But don't spread canards. Answer our performance with performance," she said at a government function, without naming Tata.

After Tata's remarks, Mitra and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim launched a scathing attack on the industrialist, saying he has "lost his mind" and was "suffering from delusion".

Tata then hit back at Mitra, and quipped he would be delighted if the minister could show him the industrial development which he had missed.

Mitra later retorted by saying, "Tata is ill-informed and confused".

Chief Minister Banerjee then joined the debate, as she made a veiled attack on Tata, saying instead of spreading canards, her critics should try to compete with the state government which has set up "a large number" of industries.

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