Kolkata | West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday left for a 12-day tour of Spain and United Arab Emirates to seek investments for the state.
Banerjee's flight to Dubai, which was scheduled around 8.30 am, was delayed by at least three hours due to some technical glitches.
She and her team finally flew from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport after a delay of around three hours.
An airport official said that the flight, by which Banerjee and her team left for Dubai, had arrived late at Kolkata from the West Asian city.
Banerjee is scheduled to spend the night in Dubai due to the unavailability of connecting flights, before flying to Spain's capital Madrid the next day.
Due to the delay, the CM visited some outlets at the airport, including the state government's Biswa Bangla store.
Speaking to reporters at the airport, Banerjee said, "It's been five years since we went abroad. Spain was the theme country of this year's International Kolkata Book Fair. They are good in manufacturing and other industries. We will be participating in business conferences there." "They (foreign delegates) come here again and again. But we don't go. That's why we are going now. A business conference is also scheduled in Dubai. I will keep you people informed from time to time," she said.
The CM was accompanied by Chief Secretary H K Dwivedi, other senior officials and one representative each from the football clubs of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.
Former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly, who is currently in London, will join her team in Madrid.
"We will stay in Madrid for three days, during which we will attend a business summit and meet non-resident Bengalis. From there, we will take a train to Barcelona, where we will participate in a two-day meeting for the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS)," she had told reporters at state secretariat Nabanna on Tuesday.
She said this will be her first foreign tour in five years as the Centre "had not given her necessary permission earlier".
Banerjee said she and her team will return to Dubai, where one meeting on BGBS and some other meetings are scheduled.
"We will stay in Dubai for one-and-half days before returning to Kolkata on September 23," she said.
On whether she will meet any office-bearer of any football club during her stay in Barcelona, which is known to be the home of several world-famous football clubs, Banerjee said, "Let there be some surprises. When I am going there, I want to do something for Bengal." Sources in the state government said Banerjee may meet La Liga president Javier Tebas during her stay in Barcelona.
Banerjee urged the people of the state to take proper measures to diffuse any attempts to disrupt law and order during her absence and said that she has held meetings with senior officials and given necessary instructions to them.