Calcutta, Feb. 22: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today invited industrialists here to explore the tremendous business potential of the Northeast.
“The region is growing and like anything that grows, it will only grow for a certain period. And those who miss the chance to invest now will miss the bus,” he told the gathering at Destination North-East, a conference jointly organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce and North East Officers and Professionals Welfare Association here.
Arunachal Pradesh governor Nirbhay Sharma, additional chief secretary of industries and commerce, Assam, Ram Tirath Jindal, Tripura industries minister Jitendra Choudhury, Bharat Chamber of Commerce president Sajjan Bhajanka, the director of Centre for Studies in International Relations, Binoda Kumar Mishra, former BBC correspondent Subir Bhaumik and Finer chairperson R.S. Joshi also spoke at the conference.
Sangma said despite great potential, the current scenario of trade and commerce in the region was not bright and to change that it was important to address the growth- inhibiting factors with immediate effect. To achieve this it is important to create a platform of interested parties and push for the same, he added.
He invited industrialists to hold the next leg of the summit in Shillong. behold the state’s beauty and judge its potential.
He also pinned hope on opening the international borders with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh for trade. “Why can’t we open the borders for trade? If today these borders are opened there will be robust trade. Even now patients from Bangladesh come to the Northeast for treatment. I have even met a few students who came from Thailand to Shillong to learn English. This indicates a great future.”
He said it was important that investors do not look at the Northeast as only a transit route but an area to make long-term investments in and do business.
Arunachal Pradesh governor Nirbhay Sharma pointed out that in the last 60 years there has been hardly any expansion of railways in the region, which he said was a great deterrent for business.
“Arunachal Pradesh does not even have a rail line. We are hoping that very soon there will be a railway line in the state,” he said.
He also pointed out the demographic advantages of the state, saying that wherever the students of the region go to work they make a good impression with their command over the English language.
Tripura industries minister Choudhary said the region has a high quality of human resource, the high literacy rate being one of the measures.
“We are the second largest producer of raw rubber in the country. We have a stable government for the last 21 years. We invite people to come and see and invest,” he added.