GUWAHATI, Nov 27 � "The North East region has abundant natural and mineral resources but it has to utilise its human resources to the optimum level to pitchfork the region to new development heights," said Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at the inaugural session of the two-day Northeast Connectivity Summit at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the city today, said an official press release.
The Chief Minister said that new initiatives have to be taken to develop the human resources to take the region along the high road of progress and prosperity. He asked the private sector to play a major role in the development of the region. In this context, the Chief Minister said the State has huge potential in food processing, tourism and health care sectors.
Underscoring the need for rekindling ties with South East Asia and ASEAN countries, he said that connectivity through road, air, railways and inland water has to be enhanced and upgraded to bring the North East region closer to the South East Asian and ASEAN countries.
The Chief Minister laid stress on taking forward the process of development to newer heights on the basis of the good neighbourly relations with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of India to Myanmar, Gautam Mukhopadhaya, said the North East has to develop in terms of connectivity and infrastructure and it should not be relegated to a mere transit point.
Minister for Power & Industries, Pradyut Bordoloi said the partition of the country has reduced the region to a cocoon leading to huge economic losses and said that the only way forward is to open up the frontiers.
Earlier Secretary General, Dr. A Didar Singh, FICCI, in his welcome address, said the North East region, given its geographic position, long international borders, proximity with the ASEAN countries and its rich resources, has great potential to become a hub of economic activity and trade.
Minister for Transport and PWD, Manipur, Dr Kh Ratankumar and Minister for Roads and Bridges, Sikkim, GM Gurung spoke at length about the initiatives taken by their governments to develop surface communication, tourism and other infrastructure.
In his address, Chairman, FICCI, North East Advisory Council, Ranjit Barthakur said the North East Connectivity Summit would help to refine and transform some of the key ideas such as seamless river transport system, a 4,000-km long ring road connecting all the North Eastern States, development of an integrated economic corridor connecting North East India with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Former High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India, Tariq A Karim stressed the need to restore the connectivity linkages for overall benefit of India, Bangladesh and other countries. The summit organised by FICCI and jointly supported by Government of Assam and the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, is being attended by delegates from Japan, Thailand, Myanmar and Bhutan, among others.