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Move to map areas for industry

- Govt plans to revive Ashok Paper Mill at Jogighopa

Guwahati, March 21: The state government will conduct a resource mapping survey to identify areas where industrial units based on local resources can be set up.

Industries minister Pradyut Bordoloi told the Assembly today that the main objective of the survey would be to find out what type of industry would be viable in a particular area.

He said the previous governments had set up public sector units without ascertaining their long-term viability and, as a result, many such units had to close down.

The minister said a comprehensive database of the state’s resources would help to comprehend the availability and distribution of raw materials and human resources. The findings of the survey will also be helpful for entrepreneurs, researchers and policy makers.

Replying to a question raised by AIUDF legislator Gul Akhtara Begum during question hour, Bordoloi said only four of the 16 public sector enterprises under the industries department were functional. Of the remaining, one was declared sick and 11 were closed down.

Among the functional units, only two, Assam Petrochemicals Limited at Namrup and Assam Gas Company Limited at Duliajan, are making profits, he added.

Ashok Paper Mill at Jogighopa in Bongaigaon district, which stopped operating in 1983, had been declared sick by the department of industries.

Bordoloi submitted in the Assembly today that the state government had requested the Union ministry of heavy industries to instruct Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd to take effective steps for revival of the paper mill. The reopening of the sick unit finds mention in the Assam Accord.

The Centre had provided a financial package of Rs 67.08 crore in 1989-90 for revival of the mill.

The state government signed a memorandum of understanding with Sanghi Textiles Limited in 1995 and subsequently with Soneko Paper and Industries Limited in 2000 to operate the mill but the plans failed to revive it.

In 2007, the Union ministry of home affairs indicated that the ministry of heavy industries should be the nodal ministry for revival of the mill.

Bordoloi said the ministry had sought equity participation of the state government of around 10 to 20 per cent of the project. The matter is under consideration, he added.

The Centre also wants pro-active support of the state government for creation and sourcing of a sustainable base of fibre through propagation of agro-climatically suitable, quick growing and high-yielding bamboo species.