Indian diaspora in US keen to invest in Assam

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS

Guwahati : The Indian diaspora in the US has shown interest in investing in Assam with proposals ranging from producing bio-diesel to operating small aircraft for regional connectivity, says Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

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“Several leading US-based entrepreneurs are seriously interested in investing in the state with some of them presenting detailed business proposals,” Gogoi, who undertook a weeklong visit to the US, scouting for potential investors, told IANS.

The New York-based Bravia Capital Partners Inc., a company that specialises in the distinctive aviation requirements of India, China and Eastern Europe, has submitted a proposal to set up a regional hub in Assam for operating smaller aircraft of 35- to 70-seaters in the northeast.

“The Partners CEO Bharat Bhise and top official Rasik Chopra met me with their proposal, besides seeking cooperation from other northeastern states to make the airline project economically viable,” Gogoi said.

“They also wanted the Assam government to have some stake in the business. I see enough potential and viability in the project.”

Gogoi, whose visit ended this week, was in the US for the second time in the past six months to market Assam.

“It is very heartening to find some of the groups meeting me for the second time in the last six months. The indications were very positive and we sincerely hope some of the projects will come through soon,” the chief minister said.

Another firm, Abhay Global, has proposed to produce bio diesel from algae.

“They want to set algae farms to develop bio fuels and then bio refineries to convert the waste products into chemicals,” the chief minister said.

Assam is also showcasing its tourism potential – especially scenic beauty, tea gardens and wildlife. Oil tourism is a target area with the state having the oldest oil refinery in the world in Digboi.

There has also been a positive feedback on the Northeast India Trade and Investment Week in Bangkok organised by the ministry of development of northeastern region (DoNER) that concluded Friday.

“The response was very encouraging with five deals signed in sectors like infrastructure, food processing, and navigation,” Assam Industries Minister Pradyut Bordoloi told IANS.

About 350 Thai entrepreneurs met the government heads of the eight northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura during the Bangkok business summit.

“Sectors where the Thai entrepreneurs showed interest included infrastructure (road, rail, inland waterways, air connectivity and energy), food processing, tourism and hospitality, horticulture, handlooms and handicrafts, rubber and bamboo,” a DoNER official said.

Minister for DoNER Mani Shankar Aiyar led a 70-member Indian delegation to Bangkok.

Officials from central organisations and public sector undertakings like the National Highways Authority of India, Inland Waterways Authority of India, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation, Power Grid Corporation of India, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, Air India, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, Rubber Board and Spices Board were also in the delegation.