NEW DELHI, Dec 15 - Making a clarion call to investors, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has unveiled plans to make Assam the hub of investments and the State, a gateway to the ASEAN and neighbouring countries.
The Chief Minister today organised a roadshow here to woo ASEAN and other countries to participate in the Global Investors� Summit in Guwahati in February, showcasing the potential of Assam.
Apart from the Ambassadors and High Commissioners of ASEAN, diplomats from various countries including Bangladesh, Norway, Germany, Romania, Slovania, Sweden, Singapore and Syria joined the meeting. The meeting with the diplomats was followed by a meeting with captains of the airlines industry.
The State Government was represented by State Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia and Additional Chief Secretary (Industries) Ravi Capoor among others.
Later, briefing newsmen, Sonowal said the Summit would showcase the potentialities, possibilities and prosperities available in Assam in different sectors like tourism, water resources, forest resources and food processing.
The vision is to build an economic development model that links North East India with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and ASEAN.
Sonowal claimed that no other State has ever taken the initiative in such a manner to strengthen economic and people-to-people ties with the ASEAN. This has become possible due to the Act East Policy, he maintained.
Stating that the Act East Policy Affairs department was working in tandem with the Central Government, Sonowal said that they believed that being at the centre of the Act East Policy, North Eastern States should play a proactive role in building the necessary infrastructure and faster implementation of projects.
Asked about infrastructural problems like power and availability of power, the State Industries Minister said that said that they have started a land bank. �The State Cabinet has cleared a proposal to build 80 km of an industrial corridor on either side of the National Highway from Guwahati to Tihu. The special industrial corridor on either side of the National Highway will be the first such industrial corridor in the country,� added Additional Chief Secretary Capoor.
�About the power situation, we have sufficient power in the State; we buy power from outside and also sell power, so there is no shortage. There may be problems in some small pockets, but we are part of the national grid. Our own system is adequate to take power,� said Capoor.
�We have the North East Industrial Policy and the State industrial policy, which supplements the former. Under the State Investors� policy, we provide relief on SGST, incentives on interest and insurance and also incentives on power and we are waiting for the new industrial policy to be announced. We will further revise the State industrial policy to make it one of the best industrial packages,� added the Additional Chief Secretary.
The Chief Minister, meanwhile, said the Government of India has extended assistance in railway, water, air and high-speed Internet in the connectivity sectors. Dredging has started in the Barak Valley and will soon start in the Brahmaputra Valley. �In a short span of time, investors will be able to introduce their technology and increase productivity,� said Sonowal.
�We are moving ahead with Internet connectivity to the North Eastern States from Cox�s Bazar in Bangladesh. Once completed, it will change the digital and industrial scenario in the entire region,� said Sonowal.
Stating that tourism was one of the priority areas, Sonowal said it is the biggest assets of the North East. The Assam Government has launched the Awesome Assam campaign to showcase and promote the State�s tourism potential globally. �Our ethnic, cultural and Buddhist linkages with Southeast Asia will further complement our tourism potential,� he said.
�Dredging of the Brahmaputra is going to start soon and we propose to reach the Chittagong port through the Brahmaputra. Investments in the development of the port cities along the river have been planned,� Sonowal added.