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Saugat Mukherjee We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men – Herman Melville The above words by the celebrated 19th-century American writer, who is widely known for his novel Moby-Dick, sound apt even in this era of globalisation, not only for humans and nations, but for businesses as well. The title Biz Bridge says it all. In fact, it’s more a pledge and commitment than an event designed to strike a ‘connect’ and synthesise opportunities for industries and society at large. It is also an occasion to step out from the old to the new to see that Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, the five Eastern region states, become a byword for prosperity. Over the four days, the fourth edition of Biz Bridge, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Eastern Region is billed for 13-16 November on the Milan Mela grounds in Kolkata, West Bengal. It is going be a lively meeting ground where big-time CEOs, decision-makers, technical experts, diplomats and senior executives from materials, R&D, procurement and business development in the manufacturing and engineering sector will interact and network, launch new products and do some important groundwork for future deals. This year, Reviving Industrial Growth is the theme, which has been chosen at a time when manufacturing growth has slowed. Like in the earlier three editions, the West Bengal Government will be a partner State in Biz Bridge. We also work closely with the governments in the other four Eastern Region states – Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha. That is the reason why 4th Biz Bridge is expected to see deeper involvement, not only from these state governments but also from the industries located there. Biz Bridge began its journey in 2008. In just five years, the biennial event has grown into a powerful one-stop-shop forum for B2B in the manufacturing space. It now ranks among the top exhibitions of energy, engineering and manufacturing held in the region. The exhibitions will see participation from sectors such as Metals & Minerals, Power & Energy, Oil & Gas, Defense & Machine Tools and Infrastructure & Material Handling. There will be focused sectoral conferences on Metals & Minerals, Power & Energy, Oil & Gas and Defence. There will be opportunities for new product launches, product displays and distribution of industry information, focused business presentation. We will create an exclusive lounge in each of the exhibition hangers where exhibitors can have their product business meetings. There will also be dedicated sessions on infrastructure where industries will have the chance to know what initiatives and policies these state governments have taken and adopted to improve infrastructure in these states. One of the major attractions this year is a Vendor Meet, a first in Eastern India. It is going to be a wonderful forum for interactions between a large number of MSMEs and vertical heads of some top energy and defence units. The Vendor Meet is being held with the primary objective of meeting procurement demand for energy, defence and manufacturing companies in the region. MSMEs are another area of focus. At Biz Bridge 2013, MSMEs will have a chance to connect with the defence and energy sectors. Our idea is to enable them to gauge the enormity of scope the defence and energy sectors offer and the limitless opportunities up for grabs. In Eastern Region alone, the defence sector will see an investment worth Rs 80,000 crore in the next 15 years. The 12th Five-Year Plan envisages an investment Rs 1.1 million crore to bridge the energy demand supply gap of over 29% in the plan period. The Government of India has set a capacity addition target of 88,000 MW by 2017. As such, significant project opportunities are expected in the power generation sector in the coming years. West Bengal is in a very sound position so far the State utilities financial situation is concerned. As a power-surplus state, West Bengal is looking at new investment opportunities and opportunities in the renewable space. Biz Bridge is certainly the right forum to make that happen. This also explains why CII Eastern Region is working hard to help the MSMEs grow in strength and acquire the wherewithal and expand and take their business to the next level. We are convinced that MSME is a sector that can contribute significantly to the growth and development of economy, generate numerous jobs and help improve the living standard of a vast multitude of people. The increased focus on MSMEs by the five state governments only corroborates the vision. We are confident that the Biz Bridge 2013 will serve to fulfil our goals to achieve steady economic growth and overall development of society. With stalls to be put up by leading organizations such as Ordinance Factory Board (GSF, MSF, RFI and OFDC) and GRSE, and the CII Defense Task Force already on the job to maximise opportunities, the Defence Pavilion is expected to become the epicenter of many important activities in the region. In our view, with the right policies in place and a forum like Biz Bridge created, we will be able to strike the right balance needed to spur industrialisation in the region. Another objective of Biz Bridge 2013 is to connect with the near-East Asian countries such as China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. We have hosted and taken several business delegations from and to these countries in the past few years. In 2011, Biz Bridge had a US Pavilion. Since we have laid a special focus on engineering and manufacturing this year, the biennial event will see a number of conferences on the sidelines as well. In 2011, we had about 100 exhibitors the number of B2B visitors was 7,000. This year, it is expected to be significantly more. The participants this year will include: Philips, Exide, SAIL, Ordinance Factory Board (GSF, MSF, RFI, OFDC), WBSEDCL, NMDC, GREC, Marathon Electric, BAPL, Pathak Machine Tools, JSPL, Concast, TSPDL, Danielle, Mahinder Power, RTS Power, Wesman, Megatharm, etc. (The author is Regional Director, CII Eastern Region)
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