Amit Mitra, WB Finance Minister
Calcutta: The Bengal government is upbeat about the development of a commercial township at Uttarpara in Hooghly even as there are no signs of reopening of the Ambassador car plant.
On the sidelines of a managing committee meeting of Assocham today, state finance minister Amit Mitra said decks were cleared for an investment of Rs 6,500 crore by Bengal Shriram Hitech City, which has acquired 314 acres of land in 2006-07 to develop an integrated information technology township.
The finance minister then referred to industrialist Ajay Piramal, who has over the last couple of years picked up equity stakes in various Shriram group companies. Mitra hoped that with the presence of a "big pocket" the real estate project by the Shriram group would transform Hooghly.
"The matter is pending since 2006. The investment is Rs 6,500 crore. Ajay Piramal has now taken, I think, 40 per cent equity (in Shriram group companies)... as you know there is big pocket. We are hoping that the Rs 6,500-crore investment will transform Hooghly completely," Mitra said.
But Mitra, who is also in charge of the industries department, gave no assurance on when the car factory from which the township project is being carved out, would reopen.
Union members at the Hindustan Motors (HM) car plant were surprised by the eagerness of the state government to develop housing and commercial spaces on the land instead of discussing the stalemate at the car factory.
"The government is not looking to hold any tripartite meeting to resolve the issue," a union member said.
Struggling to improve the sales of Ambassador cars, HM had hived off the land to Bengal Shriram Hitech during the regime of the erstwhile Left Front government with an objective to utilise the sale proceeds to improve cash flow.
HM declared suspension of work at Uttarpara in May as its net worth was completely eroded.