Sonowal pitches for investments from Karnataka in Assam

Bengaluru: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday urged entrepreneurs and industrialists in Karnataka to invest in his northeastern state, as it is the springboard for India’s Act East Policy.

“Though our state is in the northeast, it is strategically located with access to markets to seven states in the region and eight countries in Southeast Asia,” he said at a road show here on the first Global Investors Summit “Advantage Assam” being held in Guwahati on February 3-4, 2018.

Terming the northeast as the new engine of growth, Sonowal said his government had created a business-friendly environment for investments in diverse sectors of the economy.

“We have new policies for start-ups and investments in diverse sectors like plastics, petrochemicals, agro-food processing, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment across the state, which is blessed with natural and human resources to tap,” he said.

Noting that his government had opened skill development institutes to train the youth and incubation centres for start-ups, the Chief Minister urged the IT firms in Bengaluru to set up their development facilities in Guwahati and other cities across the state.

“There is a huge potential to offer software and IT-enabled (back office) services from our state and create jobs for thousands of young graduates passing out of colleges and universities in the region,” he said.

Sonowal claimed that his government had attracted Rs 6,500 crore in investments into the state in one year after the BJP came to power in May 2016.

The state government is also improving air connectivity to make Guwahati a regional hub for travel to and from southeast Asian nations.

“Efforts are underway to improve national waterways across Brahmaputra and Barak and provide connectivity to ports in Bangladesh across the border,” said Assam Chief Secretary V.K. Pipersenia.

The state government has also set up a separate department for promoting the Prime Minister’s Act East vision and position Assam as the centre for India-Asean interface.

“We are building a World Trade Centre in Guwahati, which will house consulates from the Asean region,” added Sonowal, who, along with officials, held interactive sessions with top executives of Biocon, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd, Wipro, IBM, Bharat Electronics, BEML and ISRO.

The two-day summit, to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Mod on February 3, is aimed at flagging the state’s geo-strategic advantages and opportunities for investors from across the country and overseas.

The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the summit partner.