22 May : The Centre has focused on the development of the Trans Asia Highway to ensure more dynamic route connectivity of North East with ASEAN countries, Union Commerce and Industry Industry, Anand Sharma said in Guwahati today.
Sharma told reporters, after addressing a meeting of Industry Ministers of the North East, in Guwahati on Saturday that the government was keen to ensure better connectivity with the rest of the ASEAN countries to bring about a dynamic change in the economic development of the region.
“Route connectivity is the key to the development of the region and with this view in mind we are keen to develop the Trans Asia Highway and also look at new and better routes connecting the region with South East Asia,” he said.
It is also with this aim that two ‘border hats’ and 14 Integrated Border Customs posts have been set up in the North East, Sharma added.
The government has also successfully negotiated with Bangladesh to use two of their ports for trade purpose.
The Union Ministry of Industry and Commerce has also given special emphasis to remove infrastructural bottlenecks in the region and during the Eleventh Plan, Rs 31,000 crore has been sanctioned for this sector, the Minister said.
The Union Industry and Commerce Minister has also laid special emphasis on the plantation sector with focus on tea, coffee, spices, bamboo and rubber, Sharma said.
A Special Purpose Tea Package of Rs 150 crore for the year 2010-11 has been already announced and this was likely to be raised in the coming years.
Besides, a rubber park is being set up in Tripua and “we have urged the state governments to encourage setting up of agro-based industries,” the Minister said.
“The plantation sector has been affected due to structural issues and the Centre has adopted a focused approach for the restoration and rejuvenation of this industry,” Sharma said.
The Centre was keen to ensure industrialisation and economic expansion in the North East with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking the initiative in this regard, he said.
With a view to accelerate economic development for creation of economic and employment opportunities, the Centre would release during the year 2010-11, a transport subsidy of Rs 200 crore, central interest subsidy of Rs 40 crore and capital investment subsidy of Rs 31 crore.
“We have adopted a holistic approach towards providing subsidy to the region to ensure that investors come and opportunities are created,” Sharma added.