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Gogoi’s third term encourages foreign investors
Published on 24 May. 2011 1:04 AM IST
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: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi`s return to power for the third consecutive term seems to have sent a positive signal to foreign investors who have already started showing interest in Assam to promote investment and trade.
If Bangladesh high commissioner to India Tariq A Karim was the first foreign signatory to call on Gogoi after his swearing-in on Wednesday, a large contingent of dignitaries from East European countries will visit the state on Monday. Karim is one of the frequent visitors to the state as Bangladesh is actively working on building trade links with Assam.
According to Times of India Ambassadors to India from Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Slovenia will visit the state between Monday and Wednesday. They will also visit Shillong on Wednesday. The purpose of their visit is to explore investment opportunities in various sectors of the state. Tourism, infrastructure and food processing are some of the spheres where they are likely to explore investment opportunities.
The envoys are expected to meet the chief minister during their stay in the state. Besides, they will hold meetings with bureaucrats, captains of industries and business bodies.
“As ministries are yet to be allotted to the newly-elected representatives, the ambassadors will interact with top officials of various department and trade bodies. They will also visit Shillong and return on Saturday. During their stay in Assam, the envoys will visit Kaziranga and IIT-Guwahati,” a senior official of the general administration department (GAD) said.
Although many foreign dignitaries had visited the state in the last 10 years, a Congress leader said the upcoming one held significance from the point of stability the state offers. “For investment, you need stability. The coming of Tarun Gogoi to power for the third term is an ample indication to this,” the leader said. Various business bodies, including the Federation of Industries and Commerce of North Eastern Region (FINER), have expressed optimism over expediting growth in the next five years of the Gogoi government.
A delegation from FINER would interact with the ambassadors, especially on two-way trade and technology tie-ups. “Of late, the European Union has shown interest in doing business in the northeast. The visit of the ambassadors also indicates this. Political stability and improvement of law and order have definitely encouraged foreign countries to do business here,” FINER chairperson R S Joshi said.
Although the visit of the ambassadors comes at a time when ministerial portfolios are yet to be allotted, Joshi said their visit would mark the beginning of interactions. He added, “Even though it is not known who will be the industries minister, the visit of the ambassadors marks the beginning of talks for doing business. We will also explore trade linkages with European countries and technical tie-ups with the visiting ambassadors.”
The chief minister himself has taken the initiative to promote investment and knowledge-based collaboration from abroad. Earlier this month, Gogoi visited Thailand where he explored the possibility of Bangkok-based Asian Institute of Technology in helping Assam to control floods and disaster management.
Last year, corporate honchos, including Ratan Tata, attended the first Assam Investment Advisory Board (AIAB) meeting here. Tata and other industrialists had then evinced interests to invest in the state.
In February, Bangladesh commerce minister Md Faruk Khan visited Assam along with a huge business delegation. Khan pledged to set up border haats (traditional markets) in zero-line areas along the India-Bangladesh border in the northeast for boosting bilateral trade.
India and Bangladesh signed an MoU for border haats in October last year. India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Abdul Matlub Ahmad had said talks were on with a private airliner in India to launch service in the Guwahati-Dhaka-Kolkata and Agartala-Kolkata-Dhaka sectors.

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