New Delhi: January 7, 2012
Addressing a large august gathering at the Inaugural Session of the 7th North East Business Summit 2012 organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce on the 6th of January,2012 in New Delhi,as its Chief Guest, Union Minister of Home Affairs, P Chidambaran, said that while the North East presents massive opportunities for profitable investment across a large number of investors it is important to showcase that opportunities present in the North East offer a better return on investment than other regions across India to actually attract investors.
Contrary to the persistent perception of the region being conflict prone, Chidambaran emphasized that, courtesy tireless efforts by the Centre and the respective State Governments violence and unrest has considerably reduced in the region.
In the year 2011, only 627 incidents of localized violence were reported in the region, a new low in the North East’s violence record. Barring a few regions in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam, most of the region is violence free. Courtesy tireless efforts by the North East State Governments most of the militant groups have entered into peace talks and agreements of fruitful mutual coexistence reached, he noted. Businesses should as such be necessarily encouraged to invest in the North East, he pointed out. While efforts at restoring peace are truly commendable, efforts have to be undertaken for creating an enabling policy environment for optimal resource utilization to generate the requisite investor attention in the region, he reiterated. Aggressive promotion of the bounteous opportunities both across different states of India and internationally is necessary to facilitate new investments in the State and for which education should be accorded topnotch priority.
Amongst other lucrative opportunities a special mention must be mentioned about Tourism, he stated. The region courtesy its mountainous landscape and pristine environment boasts of a huge opportunity in Tourism, nothing much of which has yet been realized. Coal, Limestone and other mineral sources and Hydro power represent other sectors which offer bountiful opportunities. India has reached a new peak in its mutually cooperative bi-lateral relations with Bangladesh. Relations with Myanmar have also improved remarkably over the years. Through its cooperative and consultative engagements relations with other nations of East and South East have also been mutually developmental. It is high time to leverage on the cooperative relations to enhance cross border trade flows, a critical factor in ensuring a holistic development for the North East.
Other eminent dignitaries gracing the Inaugural Session included Paban Singh Ghatowar, Union Minister of DoNER, CM of Meghalaya Mukul Sangma and CM of Assam Tarun Gogoi.
Echoing similar sentiments Paban Singh Ghatowar reiterated that the Minstry of DONER in collaboration with the Centre and the specific State Governments has made tireless efforts in projecting the North East’s enormous potential. Agro and Food Processing, Mining and Minerals, Horticulture, Tourism and Hospitality all present massive opportunities in the region for profitable investment. DONER, has played a highly proactive role in devising an enabling policy environment to create the requisite investor attention within the land locked region.
While presenting his address Mr Tarun Gogoi Honble,Chief Minister of Assam, mentioned that the State Government has taken the lead in restoring peace in the region. Committed initiatives have led to significant reduction in violence in the State so much so that land prices in the State in the past decade have gone through the roof. He mentioned the importance of focused marketing of the North East to garner requisite investor interest. Agriculture, food processing, mining and minerals especially ,tourism, cement and bamboo represent some of the sectors where Assam boasts promising opportunities, he mentioned.
In his presentation on the State of Meghalaya, Mukul Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya mentioned that investors can really benefit from tourism as the State boasts one of the best hill stations in the World. Furtherer more with the presence of a high literacy rate amongst its women the State has the potential to take a lead in the Nursing industry. Agro and Food Processing and Horticulture represent other critical areas where Meghalaya can provide lucrative opportunities for profitable investment. The state’s environment is suitable for growing pineapples and oranges which is used for developing honey, popularly referred to as Orange Honey across the world, he said.
The Session also witnessed presentation of Excellence Awards to two personalities from the North East for their outstanding contribution in business and social life. While Sajjan Bhajanka and Chamaria of Star Cement Company were acknowledged for their outstanding contribution in the Social up-liftment of around 150 people through construction of schools and hospitals, Ms Hasina Kharibh of Impulse Social Enterprises was recognized for her committed efforts in reducing the incidence of the dreaded HIV AIDS amongst the people of the North East, a disease which incidentally is very high in the region.