Special govt cell to monitor investments

R Dutta Choudhury
 GUWAHATI, Feb 28 – The Government of Assam is planning to set up a special cell called “Invest Assam” to follow up with the industrialists who signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the recently concluded Global Investors’ Summit in Guwahati. The unit will be formed in line of the Invest India cell in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion of the Government of India.Talking to The Assam Tribune, Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said that the proposal for setting up of the cell is likely to be cleared by the State Cabinet in its next meeting. He said that as per the proposal, the cell would have around 14 members and it would be headed by Additional Chief Secretary Ravi Capoor. The Government will also appoint a “knowledge partner” for the cell and the Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) has already floated tenders for it. This new cell will operate in addition to the existing investment cell in the Department of Industries and Commerce.

It may be mentioned here that MoUs for investments amounting to around Rs one lakh crore were signed during the Global Investors’ Summit and Patowary said that he would personally monitor the follow up actions every month, while, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal would review it in every three months.

Patowary expressed the hope that the investors’ summit would change the industrial scenario in the State in the days to come. He admitted that all those who signed MoUs might not come, but at the same time, a few industrialists, who did not sign MoU during the investment summit are now expressing desire to set up industries in the State. Citing one such example, he said that a Kolkata based company has come forward to set up a jute based industry at a cost of Rs 350 crore and the company has decided to procure its own land instead of setting up the industry in an industrial park. The company has also decided to set up a modern rice mill at a cost of Rs 400 crore. That industry did not sign any MoU with the Government during the investment summit.

The Adani group has already sent a team of officers and experts to study the feasibility of setting up industries in the State.

The Industries Minister admitted that Assam does not generate enough power to meet the requirement of industries. But the Government has already taken up the issue with the Union Power Ministry. “The Power Ministry assured to provide power from the national grid. The price of the power taken from the national grid will be a little higher but the industrialists should not be bothered by that,” he added. He also welcomed the decision of the Government of India to connect Assam with the national gas grid and said that it would be beneficial for industries.

Patowary admitted that stress would have to be given on communication and creation of infrastructure. He said that dredging of the river Barak should be completed by June this year to improve navigation to Bangladesh. He said that two dredgers have already been pressed into service to improve the navigation channel of the river Brahmaputra and the State Government has already requested the Centre to provide six more dredgers to expedite the work.

Source : http://assamtribune.com