Assam CM Sonowal woos investors
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New Delhi, Oct 24 (PTI) Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today invited investors to seize investment opportunities in the state and said his government is aiming to turn Guwahati into an investment hub in the country.
The chief minister urged investors to take advantage of the state's liberalised investment policies, ready-made infrastructure and improved business environment.
Sonowal was speaking at a curtain raiser for the 'Advantage Assam: Global Investors' Summit 2018' scheduled for the first week of February next year.
"Assam is no more a land of extremism. It has become a land of 3 P's -- Potential, Prosperity and Possibility," he said.
The government wants to make Guwahati the country's leading investment hub, the CM said adding that the state has roped in industry body FICCI to promote investment in the state.
Sonowal said, "You (investors) must know the North-East is a focus area of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was being neglected earlier but now every union ministers come to the region... The PM takes report from the ministers about their visit. All this counts, helps in ease of doing business and getting better returns."
Sharing the investment figures in the last 1.5 years, the CM said, the investment of over Rs 6,500 crore by major companies like ITC, Dabur, Hindustan Uniliver, Ajanta Pharma and others is an example of state's improving business environment.
The state chief minister assured investors of healthy environment for business.
Assam Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said, "I will personally see that skilled workforce is available for the green-field projects that come across various sectors."
There are 230 blocks and there is a skill development centre in each block that imparts training to youth in various sectors, he informed investors.
The strategic location of Assam, presence of ancillary industries, existing demand within the state, neighbouring states and countries provides conducive opportunity for setting industries in eight focus sectors, according to a document released at the event.
The pharma and medical equipment sector will reach USD 55 billion in the years to come, it said. The state grows most of the herbs which can be used by this industry to produce new products and export it to ASEAN countries. There is also a proposal to set up a 120-acre Pharmaceutical Park at Chaygaon.
The plastics and petrochemicals: The plastic park at Tinsukia with allocable land of 4.8 lakh acre provides immense opportunity as the state under its Plastics and Petrochemicals Hydrocarbon Vision 20130 is looking to increase its production from 6 MTPA to 14 MTPA.
The government also sought investments in the power sector where said projects of 1901.5 MW are in the pipeline.
Next is the river transport and port township. The government will develop inland waterways terminals, townships at ports, river taxis are also on the list and developing river front, the industries minister said.
The fifth sector is IT (Information and Technology) and ITes (Information Technology Enabled Services). The investors have an opportunity to invest at the proposed IT Parks at Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Silchar. Besides, there are 'Rural BPO' coming up at 15 locations in Assam.
The investors can also take the benefit of the government's MUDRA scheme and set up handloom production units, apparel garment making centres, he said adding Assam ranks 3rd amongst raw silk producing states.
Ravi Capoor, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries & Commerce, Assam, said the state government was keen to develop Assam as the regional aviation hub and was looking at ways to establish direct air connectivity with neighbouring countries where the flying time was between 1.5 to 2 hours. PTI ABI MKJ
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