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$300 mn World Bank investment underway for Kolkata logistics infrastructure: WB Finance Minister

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World Bank has already submitted the proposed plan that will prove to be a major boost for logistics infrastructural development in the state

A $300mn World Bank investment may be underway for the development of the logistics infrastructure within the Kolkata metropolitan area(KMA), state finance and industries minister Amit Mitra announced while addressing the CII Logistics Colloquium 2019 last week. He said that the World Bank had proposed and also submitted a conceptual master plan in this regard, and would entail a project cost of $300mn (or INR 2100 Crore).

He added that a conceptual master plan has already been drafted and submitted, and a meeting will soon be underway to finalize it next week. He added that the World Bank has expressed its interest for a review of industrial parks, hubs, industrial estates, special economic zones and others on the eastern corridor in the South Asian region encompassing West Bengal along with other states viz. Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam, with the aim of scaling up employment generation, logistics competitiveness and ease of doing business.

According to Mitra, this project will aim at the development of rail, road and water logistics infrastructure, as World Bank is keen about going forth with this in Bengal because its prime location is among the few in the world that harbours all rail, road and water forms.

There has been a massive surge in infrastructure spending, from INR 1758 crore in 2011 to INR 9553 crore in 2018: “an increased spending that has led to a boost in the SGDP growth to 12.58% in 2018-19 against the national growth of around 5.5%,” the finance minister said. There are planned capital investments of INR 23000 Cr and above in eight specific areas that would provide new impetus to the state major infrastructure, the finance minister said.

Mitra also stressed on how the private sector will play a major role in employment generation for around 1.2 lakh people by the said investments in logistics infrastructure.

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