NEW DELHI, Jan 8 � With insurgency on the wane, the North-eastern States tried to woo investors into the region, stating that the States were looking for investments in education, health and tourism sectors.
A plenary session on �Investment Opportunities in the Nort-eastern Region�, attended by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and his Meghalaya counterpart Dr Mukul Sangma, besides Tripura State Industry Minister S Chowdhury, witnessed the States trying to hard sell the region, citing the blowing winds of peace, the special industrial packages and the strong human resources. However, most of the Chief Ministers of the region gave the event a miss, with only two Chief Ministers, a couple of State ministers and officials attending the function.
The Prime Minister had attended the inaugural function in the mornting. The event, organised as part of the Pravasi Bharati Divas (PBD) with the North East region as its focus area, is being partnered by Ministry Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).
Delivering his keynote address, Minister for DoNER and Mines, Bijoy Krishna Handique said that meeting the aspirations of the people of the region has been amongst the foremost tasks of the Central government.
Given the complexity of the task, augmenting investment to accelerate growth in the region is only a part of the story. The successful transformation of investments into development outcomes requires a variety of initiatives. The sectors that have huge scope in the region include infrastructure, food processing, IT and tourism.
�I am happy to say that we have already taken quite a few steps in the form of infrastructure development, policy framework and proactive efforts on diplomatic front. The region is now poised to reap economic benefits of these initiatives. This process can be further taken ahead with the cooperation of Indian diaspora which is already involved in India�s developmental efforts in a significant manner,� he said.
Addressing the function, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said with the renewed focus of the Government of India on the region, the area is attracting big investments across various sectors. A huge amount of public spending in national projects in railways, roads, airport, power and defence are in the pipeline.
�Roughly Rs 2 lakh crore is likely to be spent on all sectors, which will spin the economies of the North-east. Investment in industries alone in Assam across the sectors is to the tune of over Rs 25,000 crore,� he said, seeking to lure investors.
�The incentive package offered by Assam is one of the best in the country,� he claimed.
Asserting that Assam and Meghalaya have become very vibrant, Sangma said that the entire North-east has a lot of potential and the area is waiting to be explored. He singled out education, health and tourism sectors for investments.
The North-east has been associated with many wrong things. Perception that� North-east is in trouble � can be misconstrued, because there are peaceful States like Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya. Insurgency in North-east is limited to certain pockets, Sangma asserted.
The North-east can be considered as the best investment destination, he claimed, trying to market the region.
An interaction session that followed the meeting saw curious expatriate community seeking details from the Chief Ministers.
Gogoi, however, was stumped by a question by Assamese NRI Wahid Saleh, who asked him why the education institutions in the State, particularly in Jorhat district, were in such dilapidated condition. �It is okay to build new colleges and hostels but at the same time due importance have to be give to the existing ones,� he remarked.
In reply, Gogoi admitted that educational institutions were in bad shape till about a year back, because of resource crunch. But in the last one year, enough funds have been sanctioned for repair and maintenance of the institutions. �You will see the result in a year�s time,� he said.