The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ramesh launches bid to draw IT investors

New Delhi, Sept. 22: In a bid to attract domestic investors to the Northeast, Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh will visit Shillong on a three-day tour from tomorrow.

Ramesh is attempting to convince the likes of Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys to set up shop in the region, particularly Meghalaya.

This initiative has come at a time when a group of chief ministers and ministers from the region is in the US to participate in a Northeast investment conference in New York. The conclave is being organised by DoNER minister Mani Shankar Aiyar.

During the next three days, Ramesh will also be focusing on information technology and border trade with Bangladesh.

The commerce minister feels that Shillong can be built into a major IT hub. Three weeks ago, Ramesh had accompanied TCS managers to Guwahati to showcase the Northeast as a favourable destination for the IT industry.

Now, he wants to involve Infosys and NIIT in a major way in Shillong.

During the tour, Ramesh will visit Dawki, a centre for trade with Bangladesh, with transactions worth Rs 50 crore routed through this point last year.

“Though there are imports from Bangladesh, their total value has been less than Rs 1 crore last year. We are building a land customs station and upgrading the infrastructure,” said Ramesh. The proposal will entail an expenditure of Rs 40 crore.

A modern, world-class facility to facilitate trade will make Dawki one of the seven land customs stations that are being upgraded on the Indo-Bangladesh border.

The third major programme is geared towards promoting cultivation of organic spices such as turmeric, ginger and black pepper. A “spices park” is being set up, for which the Spice Board is negotiating with ITC to involve it in the marketing of the organic spices, sources said.

While Aiyar is trying to woo foreign investors, Ramesh is concentrating on domestic industrialists, who nevertheless are not too eager about the Northeast as an attractive destination.

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