Kolkata, Nov 21 (The Street Press India) – Mamata Banerjee, Bengal’s chief minister, urged companies to bid for the Tajpur deep sea port at the Bengal Global Business Summit. Notably, the Adani Group was absent, but Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries pledged a significant Rs 20,000 crore investment over the next three years. This announcement marked a key moment in the summit’s opening session.
In her opening speech, Banerjee announced the Tajpur deep sea port project, valued at Rs 25,000 crore. She welcomed all to join the tender process, highlighting 12 transformative opportunities available in the state.
Adani Ports and SEZ have been involved in the Tajpur port competition for over a year. Banerjee’s recent announcement triggered speculations about the state government’s stance on this prolonged deal, leaving many in the state bureaucracy puzzled without a clear answer.
Adani Ports secured the top bid for the Tajpur deep-sea port, receiving a Letter of Intent from the state government in October 2021. During the 2022 summit, Gautam Adani, the group chairman, pledged a substantial investment of Rs 10,000 crore in port infrastructure, data centers, undersea cables, warehouses, and logistics parks within the state.
Following the US short-seller Hindenburg Research’s report on January 24, which raised concerns about high debt levels at Adani Group, the state maintained silence on Tajpur port’s future. This continued to the extent that during February’s state Assembly budget presentation, there was no mention or discussion of the proposed project.
The silence broke at BGBS 2023, where the chief minister hinted at inviting a new tender for the Tajpur port project.
As of August this year, Adani Group CEO (Ports) Subrat Tripathi assured the media that the Rs 25,000 crore Tajpur port project was progressing. He mentioned that the company awaited the Letter of Award from the Bengal government to proceed, after which they would seek necessary environmental clearances. Tripathi affirmed that funds for the project were already earmarked.
During Tuesday’s BGBS, Mukesh Ambani, back on stage after four years, declared the group’s intention to invest an extra Rs 20,000 crore, in addition to the Rs 45,000 crore already invested in the state since his previous appearance.
Ambani outlined that the investment would focus on key areas, including completing Jio fiber installation for widespread 5G Internet, enhancing the Reliance retail store network, and establishing bio-gas plants using farm waste.
The group patriarch emphasized the company’s commitment to CSR in Bengal, highlighting ongoing projects such as the renovation of Kalighat Temple and support for artisans and weavers. This support involves promoting the sale of high-quality handicrafts through Reliance retail outlets.
Ambani expressed, “The Kalighat Temple restoration project is as close to the hearts of Nita and I as it is to yours,” addressing Banerjee.
Introducing the Foundation’s new initiative, Swadesh, Ambani stated, “We would also like to promote local art and craft by means of opening up a training institute for budding artists with cooperation from the state government.”
Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman of Narayana Health, revealed plans for a Rs 1000 crore investment in constructing a super-specialty hospital in Calcutta. The state-of-the-art facility, focused on heart care, cancer care, and organ transplants, is projected to be completed in two years, offering employment opportunities to 10,000 people directly and indirectly.
Harsh Pati Singhania, MD of JK Papers and a Kolkata native, announced a “homecoming” by establishing a plant at Vidyasagar Industrial Park in Kharagpur. Meanwhile, Rishad Premji, Wipro Chairman, confirmed a Rs 200 crore investment for the forthcoming second Wipro campus in Rajarhat.