Kolkata: West Bengal has never been known for industrialisation and is still associated more with politics, but 2018 saw corporate titans like Ambanis, Adanis and Mittals as also its own Goenkas and Neotias announcing huge investments and jobs here and the state made a big jump on the ease of doing business ranking to figure among the top-ten for the first time ever. While it still remains to be seen what portion of the staggering amount of Rs 2.2 lakh crore worth investments proposed by the industrialists at the big-bang Bengal Global Business Summit in January has already materialised, the state government has been making right noises to boost its pro-business image and has been getting good support from industrialists as well as economists. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life Also, the West Bengal government’s Economic Review for 2018-19 showed that the annual growth rate of the state GDP rose from 5.8 per cent in 2015-16 to 11.4 per cent in 2017-18. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is said to have been making serious efforts on attracting investments and creating jobs in the state. The efforts were reflected in West Bengal’s ranking on the national ease of doing business jumping to 10th place, while it was ranked third in terms of ‘reforms’. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed At the end of the Bengal Global Business Summit, Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee had said the state received new investment proposals worth Rs 2.20 lakh crore with a job creation potential of 20 lakh. Those making the commitments included Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, who said it was nothing short of a “miracle” that the state has adopted a change in mindset to welcome the industry. Banerjee said 50 per cent of the investment proposals made at the last year’s event were already in progress and asserted that Bengal was the new investment destination because of political stability, industry-friendly environment and also because of its strategic location. Major business groups which announced investments at the summit also included Adani Group, JSW group, Adventz group and RP-Sanjiv Goenka group. The Summit saw participation from 32 countries, though there was no representation from the central government. According to the state government, several MNCs including Dassult, Aramco, Samsung and PepsiCo have also expressed business interest. Later in the year, Banerjee announced a 200-acre plot at New Town, dedicated for a silicon valley hub for high-end IT functions. Already, companies like Jio, TCS and Capgemini have applied for land parcels there. The booming e-commerce business also left its mark in the state this year. Flipkart subsidiary Instakart Services would invest Rs 991 crore at Haringhata, about 55 m from Kolkata, for a logistics park with employment potential in excess of 18,000 people. Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) would invest around Rs 120 crore for a single project with the objective to delivery technological services in the east and north-east with the idea to boost software exports. The state also got a shot in the arm on getting exploration and licensing of Deocha-Pachami coal block in Bankura district with an aggregate reserves of over 21 million tonnes. City-based storage battery major Exide Industries also announced an investment of Rs 550 crore for two projects in the state this year. Praise also came from a group of 13 senior economists, including former RBI Raghuram Rajan and IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath, when they cited example of West Bengal while outlining an economic strategy for India. Talking about need to reform the healthcare system in India, the group said studies in West Bengal suggest that training the private sector health providers improves their performance by a very significant amount. They said West Bengal has already begun to train many thousands of private sector health providers and it would make sense for other states to follow the same. However, there were also warnings from some quarters about the risks from climate change. A study by New Delhi-based climate research group Climate Trends listed West Bengal among the estates facing heightened risks from multiple climate disasters.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 The Queen Elizabeth 2 ship now floats as a hotel on the Persian Gulf The QE2, built by Cunard and put to sea in 1969, is the second ship the company named after the wife of King George VI, not the current British monarch – hence the number rather than the Roman numeral.The luxury ship travelled some 6 million miles in decades of service even as airlines came to dominate trans-Atlantic travel. It carried 2.5 million passengers and crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times. Britain requisitioned the ship as a troop carrier for the Falklands War against Argentina in 1982.More news: Universal enhances popular Harry Potter vacation package with new perksIn 2007, Cunard sold the QE2 to an arm of the state-run conglomerate Dubai World for 50 million pounds ($100 million). She arrived to Dubai’s Port Rashid the following year as part of a glitzy armada led by a mega-yacht owned by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at the height of the former British protectorate’s real-estate bubble.An economic crash left the QE2’s owners in debt for billions of dollars. Rumours circulated for years after that the ship could be sold. All the while, she sat mothballed at Port Rashid near Dubai’s historic downtown creek, a 149,000-ton reminder of the crash.Three years ago, the Dubai government’s Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corp. took over the project. It marks the first foray into hotels for the corporation, said Mustafa, who previously served as a managing director at the government-owned developer Nakheel and at the investment arm of Dubai World. He said the corporation planned to open other hotels in the future.The ship has been hooked up to Dubai’s power grid, but still floats in the Persian Gulf. An Associated Press team that visited the ship Tuesday could feel her list slightly while walking through portions of her completed passageways.More news: Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at sea“She lists. She’s supposed to that, she’s a ship,” Mustafa said.Today, around seven of the QE2’s 13 decks are under operation, with 224 cabins available, Mustafa said. Prices will range from $150 a night in the simplest berthing to $15,000 a night for the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary suites, he said.A green-hued British pub and other restaurants will serve alcohol, a common practice across Dubai’s hotels. However, its nickel, quarter and dollar slot machines will remain turned off as gambling is illegal.The ship also will feature shops run by Dubai Duty Free, the government-run conglomerate that had $1.93 billion of sales in 2017, with 9.7 million cans of beer and 7.4 million bottles of liquor and wine sold.Workers hurried across the ship Tuesday to finish up work ahead of the hotel’s soft opening Wednesday. By October, Mustafa said the hotel hopes to have a grand opening with “600 to 800 rooms” ready.“If you want to come and have a sense of how it was during the ocean liner era but at the same time being a doorstep away from Dubai, this is the place you want to be,” he said. “We’re not a theme. We’re not a concept. This is what this ship was.” Share DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Famed Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship will finally open as a floating luxury hotel moored off Dubai, nearly a decade after completing its last ocean voyage.It’s been another long trip for the ship known as the QE2 to even open to the public, as Dubai’s financial meltdown and years of slow growth nearly sank the project and left the ship languishing at port. After initially planning to gut the vessel, Dubai’s government ultimately decided to restore the ship at a cost of over $100 million, down to replicating its 1960s carpeting, with work still underway.“It’s like walking into a time capsule – this is the ship in 1969. It’s a hotel and a museum,” said Hamza Mustafa, the CEO of Dubai’s Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corp.’s investment arm. “We’ve put in 2.7 million man hours working on her … making sure that she can really shine.”“She’s going to live on for many more years now in her final home in Dubai,” he added. << Previous PostNext Post >> By: Jon GambrellSource: The Associated Press