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Assam Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi on Thursday said the north-eastern part of the country has immense natural resources accounting for 34 per cent of the country’s water resources and 40 per cent of India’s hydropower potential.

He therefore said the waterways of Assam should be exceedingly utilized to ensure the region’s accessibility to the Southeast Asian countries.

Speaking at ‘Emerging North East 2020’ organized by ASSOCHAM at Maniram Dewan Trade Centre, Prof Mukhi said considering vast extent of the Brahmaputra and Barak in the State and neighbouring country and the status of national water way 2 and 16 given to these two rivers, they should be increasingly used to get access to the traditional domestic market of eastern India, along with countries such as Bangladesh and other ASEAN countries.

He also said considering the strategic location of the Northeast and the region’s vast expanse of fertile farmland and huge untapped human capital, thr region has the potential to be India’s most prosperous region.

He also said that the entire north-eastern region is an unexplored territory for most investors and it is in this context ASSOCHAM can play a catalytic role in shaping up the trade, commerce and industrial landscape of the entire Northeast region more particularly Assam.

He also said that the Central Government has been focusing on the development of the Northeast region through its pro-active ‘Act East Policy’.

As part of this policy, the Centre is focusing on reducing the isolation of the region by improving all round connectivity through road, rail, telecom, power and waterways, the Governor added.

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Prof Mukhi also said the Northeast is the gateway to South East Asian countries and India needs to leverage this opportunity.

He also said that works have been taken up to open up both road and rail routes of the region to the neighbouring countries.

This should give a boost to the economic development of the region and enhance the exports from India.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said Northeast has the potential of becoming the organic hub of the country, Prof Mukhi said adequate steps should be taken for the region to become an epicentre of organic farming and sustainable development of agriculture and food processing.

He also said that India is one of the key food producers in the world and its food processing industry is one of the largest in the country.

India’s food processing industry is well positioned in the world and has been chosen as the regional hub for exports.

He also emphasized that there is also a need to emphasize and recognize aquatic resources as a part of integrated farming system to boost the income of the farmers.

He also said that in view of immense possibility of food processing industry, Assam government is also working synergistically with the Centre for creating facilities for storage, processing, grading and marketing, thus ensuring that surplus fruits and vegetables do not go waste.

For development of the region and to bring it at par with the rest of the country, maximum emphasis needs to be given to food processing and allied sectors, the Governor exhorted.

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