Centre keen to make West Bengal business hub: Modi

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(Eds: With details) Haldia, Feb 7 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the Centre is making efforts to make West Bengal a premier trading and business hub through port-led development.

Dedicating four projects, including the ambitious 348 -km Dobhi-Durgapur natural gas pipeline built by government- owned GAIL, to the nation, Modi said these will make Haldia a major centre for import and export.

'Our efforts will be directed towards making the state a premier one in trading and business activity in the country.

For this, port-led development is feasible and Haldia will play an important role in it,' he said.

'Haldia will help the East to become self-reliant in the energy sector. This will in turn help in the aim of a self-reliant India,' the prime minister said at a function to dedicate the infrastructure projects worth Rs 4,700 crore to the nation.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was an invitee at the event, did not turn up. However, TMC MP Dibyendu Adhikari, who has been maintaining distance from the party, attended the programme.

The PM said with the inauguration of the Dhobi- Durgapur pipeline, gas connectivity in the eastern region will be strengthened.

'The four projects (belonging to GAIL, BPCL and NHAI) will help in ease of doing business and living in the east, and make Haldia a major centre for export and import,' Modi said.

The expansion of the natural gas pipeline network will also reduce the cost of natural gas, he said.

'Today, India is the largest consumer of natural gas in Asia. When we got the mandate six years ago, we drew up an agenda to develop the eastern region, which was lagging behind,' he said.

The central government, Modi said, has made major efforts in developing rail, road, airport and port connectivity.

He said the gas pipeline will bring new enterprises and prevent closure of the old ones through the extension of the PM Urja Ganga project.

'Today, the aim is that of one-nation, one-gas grid.

This will be a big movement. In this Union Budget, we have created a mission to get hydrogen as clean fuel,' the PM said.

Modi said the Dhobi-Durgapur pipeline will benefit the north-east, while fertiliser factories at Sindri and Durgapur will be also supplied with natural gas.

'The LPG import terminal at Haldia with a capacity of one million tonne per annum by BPCL will help in increasing the gas coverage in eastern India. One crore more families will be supplied LPG under the PM Ujjwala scheme,' he said.

Modi said when his government came to power in 2014, LPG coverage in West Bengal was 41 per cent, which has now risen to 99 per cent.

The dewaxing unit at IOC's Haldia refinery will aid in production of base oil of lubes and save foreign exchange, while the ROB-cum-flyover at Ranichak in Haldia by the NHAI will improve traffic movement to the port, he added. PTI DC AMR RBT RBT