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West Bengal allots land for ITC snack food plant

The West Bengal government is set to keep its three-year-old commitment to ITC. It will formally hand over close to 20 acres to ITC for setting up a fastfood unit at Panchla in Howrah district, Subrata Gupta, managing director of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) said on Tuesday.

“The land is now available with us. We have communicated that to ITC and we have been told by ITC officials that they want to take possession of the land on September 25. So we will hand this over to them on that date,” Gupta said.

It may be recalled that in early 2008 ITC had announced it was in talks with the West Bengal government for acquiring land for a plant to make its range of snacks under brand Bingo. It had made a formal proposal also thereafter. However, in July 2010, ITC chairman YC Deveshwar had publicly aired his displeasure over what he then described as a failure of the state to deliver.

Significantly, ITC had initially asked for 40 acre of land in an area which grows potato in abundance. However the company has now settled for less.

The price being paid by ITC is much lower than wh at was negotiated earlier at Rs 50 lakh an acre. “We are giving the land at Rs 20 lakh an acre to ITC,” Gupta told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on asset reconstruction organised by FICCI.

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ITC Limited is an Indian telecommunications giant and cigarette manufacturer diversifying in the Consumer Packaged Goods market, including the snack foods sector with its brand "Bingo!". Bingo managed to capture an 11% market share of the Indian snack market within 6 months of its launch.
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