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Ficci plan to boost Japan investment

- Stress on infrastructure

Guwahati, Jan. 31: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) is working on a comprehensive action plan to promote Japanese investments in the Northeast.

“There is a huge latent potential for investment in infrastructure projects in the Northeast. We have identified specific projects like the trilateral highway connecting Thailand, Myanmar and India, as well as a ring road along the international border connecting all the states of the region. However, these projects can be completed in time only if companies from Japan invest in them,” Ranjit Barthakur, the chairman of Ficci’s Northeast Advisory Council, said.

Ficci had, in a paper presented at a round table conference in New Delhi recently, proposed a workable solution to develop the region. Development of the power sector and a major revamp of connectivity infrastructure are the crucial ingredients of this solution.

The paper, India’s North East Frontier — The Bridge from Asean to India, envisions a road map for exponential development of the region by addressing issues in sectors like power, roads and railways.

It also identified opportunities to improve India’s connectivity with the Southeast Asian countries.

Among the proposals being discussed is one to develop an economic corridor, which would include 53 wayside amenities-cum-rural integration facilities, to provide a unique platform to develop rural economies of the region.

The centres would also provide facilities for logistics, travel amenities, industrial areas and real estate development.

“Other areas, which could be very attractive to Japanese firms are inland waterways, airports, border townships, hydro-electric power and highway amenities,” Barthakur said.

Ficci also lauded the Centre for inviting Japanese investment in a strategically important region like the Northeast.

The chamber said Japan has been a reliable and trusted partner, especially in infrastructure development in India, with the Delhi Metro being the showpiece project of this partnership.

“The pace of infrastructure development, including roads, railways and power, et al, in the Northeast, has been very slow and the Japanese funds and expertise would re-energise the development of infrastructure in the region,” he said.

The chamber stressed that world class infrastructure needs to be developed in the Northeast to truly realise its potential as the gateway to the Southeast Asian markets.