The Upper Assam Chamber of Commerce in a letter to Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu has pointed out the deficiencies which have made Assam remain underdeveloped industrially.
Pawan More, secretary of the UACC while highlighting the importance of Assam as the gateway to the northeast which was also a trade link to south east Asian countries stated in the letter that Assam could not make headway industrially due to various reasons.
Listing some of the reasons he said that while in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana trees were planted as cash crops to feed the thriving plywood industry in those states, in Assam the industry was dying for lack of a forest policy.
Again growing tea was no longer viable because of the negative attitude of the Tea Board and lack of technology for plucking green leaves, only 24 kgs being plucked daily on an average at present, while the cost of production, that is wages, infrastructure, health benefits to workers, etc, were escalating every year.
The letter complained that though the subsidies given to businessmen were good these amounts were paid up only after four to five years, there were no notified land areas for industries to be set up, and also one had to wait one to two years before getting a gas or electricity connection.
Capital deficiency was a major hurdle in the industrial growth in this region, the letter said.
More said that he had tweeted several times about the dismal condition of the Railways and the yards when Prabhu was Union Railway Minister.
The letter stated the names of existing industries and available resources quoting from the report from the Economic Survey if Assam, 2009-10, Directorate of Industries and Commerce, Assam.
“The present state of industrial development in Assam is not up to the mark in spite of having rich potential for the development of different types of resources based industries, the State could not achieve much diversification in its industrial base, leading to restrictions in its industrial activities, mostly in village and cottage industries in rural areas,” he said.
Assam being an industrially backward state having a great potential for rural development can be able to make much headway in the path of industrialization under the current process of economic reforms. It can be finally observed that the future prospects of industries, especially rural industries, is quite bright provided an investment friendly climate is created in the state, the letter said.