Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has appointed renowned technocrat Sam Pitroda the adviser to her “Resurgent Bengal” initiative. Seven years ago, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, then nicknamed “CEO of Brand Bengal”, had thought on the same lines as he visualized a “Resurgent Bengal” and rared to re-industrialize the state. Unfortunately, at the fag end of the Left regime, when things had started going horribly wrong, the former chief minister appointed UK-based brand guru Wally Olins to rebuild Bengal’s lost image. Fortunately, Mamata has begun at the very beginning. And with a bang. Adeptly addressing imperative issues like Maoist menace and the Hills trouble, the chief minister set the ball rolling on Saturday. Much as the man who is widely responsible for India’s communication revolution didn’t need an introduction, she told the media, “He had started the telephone, mobile phone communication. We have invited him to be the adviser to ‘Resurgence of Bengal’ so that we can quickly steer Bengal towards modernization and show the world that we have brought back the state’s lost glory.” Pitroda would, for now, concentrate on “improving education, health, technology, investment, industry, job creations” as he perceives a roadmap for catapulting Bengal to the highest level of excellence. The best part of his assignment, in his own words: “She is in a hurry, I am also in a hurry. It looks like a good partnership.” This was Pitroda’s second visit to Kolkata since he attended the CM’s swearing-in ceremony on May 13. His association with the Trinamool chief was made known when she set up a committee headed by him to revive the long-forgotten RailTel Corporation. Knowing that he has served as the chairman of the National Knowledge Commission (2005-2008), Mamata recently nominated Pitroda chairman of the two IT advisory committees for hardware and software. “We have already appointed him to give our Knowledge Mission (as described in our manifesto) a shape. But we want to give him some more work,” the chief minister beamed as Pitroda, her “associate of many, many years and a great admirer” looked on. Bengal, said Pitroda, had been ignored for 30 years: “Now we need to put together a plan for the next 30 years. We need lots of people to come and join us to develop the state in terms of technology, health and education.” Pitroda carried with him a green-cover prelude to the state’s blueprint. Waving the file titled “Paribartan”, he said, “I have prepared a small discussion document. The CM has given some guidance and we’ll get back to her.” At the onset he intended focusing on the industrial clusters planned by the new government: “We are going to take 15 clusters in Bengal. Maybe, we’ll take five first, set up incubators, provide training on trademark and entrepreneurship. Innovation will be the most important factor. I know experts, we can get them here. We’ll force people to think of innovations for industries or clusters, which will drive the global economy,” he said. By stressing on clusters rather than heavy industries, he seemed perfectly in tune with Mamata’s current formula: low-land requirement and high on investment. He told the audience that the state’s finances weren’t in a great shape. “The work culture in Bengal needs a change. I am just a catalyst, and not capable of changing everything. So don’t jump to conclusions. Have patience. Our direction is clear,” he said.