DIBRUGARH, Nov 22 – The North East Business Summit began today on a positive note with Union DoNER Minister and local MP Paban Singh Ghatowar highlighting the prospect of high economic growth in the region due to the abundance of natural resources.
In his Chairman’s speech, Ghatowar said that the abundant natural resources of the region ought to be utilised properly for an accelerated economic progress of the people of the area.
Union DoNER Secretary UK Sangma said that Upper Assam is the industrial hub of North East India and Dibrugarh the hub of Upper Assam and hence the current business summit in the city. He said Dibrugarh is all set for a quantum jump in economic stature in the coming years.
Among the speakers at the inaugural session today, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh spoke most lucidly. He said that unless an area has proper infrastructure and round-the-clock supply of stable electricity, it is futile to indulge in day dreaming of a prosperous economy.
Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) vice president Roopen Roy, in his opening remarks, said the Asia Pacific economies are gravitating towards each other and that the time has come for each economy to take the full benefits of the emerging situation.
Echoing similar views, the US Deputy Chief of Mission, Michael Pelletier said his country is keen to hear out the views of the people of south and southeast Asia, and that the US is keen to have a stake in the North East as a economic partner. He said his country is especially interested in the spheres of power, environment and education.
Two provincial Chief Ministers from Myanmar – U Thar Aye from Sagain region and U Ye Mint from Mandalay region – said that Indian investment is welcome in their two states and suggested sectors like hospitality, tourism and mining as immediate possibilities.
India’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Gautam Mukhopadhyaya said India is Myanmar’s fourth largest trade partner, after China, Thailand and Singapore. He wanted more flights between India and Myanmar and hoped that the North East States would contribute to more trade and commerce with Myanmar.
The summit, being held at the Dibrugarh University campus, began an hour late, but most of the speakers were optimistic of a meaningful dialogue at the ninth North East Business Summit, which was organised by the ICC and sponsored by the DoNER Ministry.
Around 200 delegates from South East Asian countries – Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Philippines, Bangladesh and Indonesia, apart from domestic delegates and one from the United States – have arrived.
They would be engaged in a series of seminars, workshops and idea exchanges till late on Saturday, before drawing the curtains.
The first session earlier in the day concluded with an interaction between the students and the officials of the US Consulate, Kolkata in which the queries of the students were replied with sufficient information by the foreign delegates.
The 2nd session was attended by the dignitaries from Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, US consulate, Indian Chamber of Commerce representatives, media persons, faculties, research scholars and students in which several faculty members put forward some accounts of the recent activities in their respective departments in the university supported with a powerpoint presentation.
Presentations by various departments of the Dibrugarh University depicting their research projects, academic programmes, their strengths, linkages, recent publications and areas of collaboration were the major highlights.
Departments like the Pharmaceutical Science, Centre for Atmospheric Studies, Centre for Studies in Geography, Applied Geology, Petroleum Technology, Mathematics, Centre for Management Studies, Anthropology, Commerce and Centre for Studies in Language were those presenting their departments.
The programme was moderated by Dr Rajiv Handique, Associate Professor, Department of History, Dibrugarh University.