Prez inaugurates NE Biz Summit
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 21 2017: President Ram Nath Kovind has stated that development of the country's North East region wouldnotonlygivean impetus to the country's economy but would also contribute to the growth of ASEAN economies.

As a part of the Manipur Sangai Festival 2017, the President opened a North East Business Summit at City Convention Centre here today.

Speaking at the gathering, President Kovind who is visiting Manipur for the first time after becoming the country's President stated that development of the North East region would benefit neighbouring countries as well as all friendly Nations.

At some points of time in history, there was a misconception about the eight North Eastern States.

However, if one looks back at the human civilization of 1000 years ago, the North East region could have been a heartland.

The region is located in the centre of South Asia and South East Asia, the President remarked.

There is an amazing social and cultural ecosytem in the North East which is quite limited in the whole world.

The region is also home to some of the world's oldest indigenous peoples.

The way several ethnic groups professing different religious faith with distinct cultures have been living together in the region is an inspiration to the whole country, Ram Nath Kovind asserted.

The North East region, on account of its strategic geographical location, would definitely serve as a gateway between the Indian sub-conti-nent and ASEAN.

"We have to tap the North East region's potential and this very idea should be a focal point of the summit", the President stated.

Development of the North East region is an urgent matter and this must be accomplished by way of establishing all necessary modem infrastructure including road connectivity, air connectivity and waterway connectivity.

This connectivity infrastructure should reach both South Asia and South East Asia.

A whopping Rs 90,000 crore has been invested for development of railway networks in the North East region and NHIDCL which was set up in 2014 is currently executing around 100 projects in the region.

Exuding confidence that Government officials, corporate houses and investors would come out with visionary ideas and proposals at the end of the summit for speedy development of the North East region which occupies a strategic place in the Government of India's Act East Policy and BBIN (Bangladesh, Burma, India and Nepal) Initiative, President Kovind wished the development summit a grand success.

Governor Dr Najma Heptulla, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren, Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu.

Nagalahd Chief Minister TR Zeliang, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Union Civil Aviation Minister of State Jayant Sinha, Union Minister of State for Tourism KJ Alphons, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar Sharma.

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd Managing Director Acharya Balkrishnaand UN Resident Coordinator Yuri Afanasiev were seated on the dais during the inaugural session.

Ministers and Government officials of the North Eastern States and other States of the country, foreign businessmen and Ambassadors of different countries are attending the summit.

The main discussion sessions would be held tomorrow.

Governor Dr Najma while highlighting the vast spatial distance between New Delhi and Manipur and the North East, underscored the importance of setting up smooth and extensive connectivity by air.

road and digital means.

The Governor rejoiced that the Central Government has approved the idea of introducing flying dispensary and flying doctors in the interior areas of the State and the Ministry of DoNER has already sanctioned certain amounts for the noble and novel initiative.

Hailing Union Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinhrf*s announcement that there would be Imphal-Delhi direct flight service.

Dr Najma expressed keen desire to introduce similar direct flight services between Imphal and other metro cities of the country.

"The North East region is a biodiversity hotspot and more than 400 medicinal plants are found in the region.

We must tap this potential", she stated.

Welcoming the dignitaries and delegates.

Chief Minister N Biren stated that the presence of the President and the First Lady at the summit would go down in the history of Manipur as a landmark event.

Key focuses of the summit are trade, investment and tourism.

Highlighting the State's rich potential in the fields of biodiversity, handicrafts and handloom and sports, the Chief Minister appealed to all investors to come and invest in Manipur.

Law and order has been restored and there are a large number of skilful youth who speak English.

Investors would be given necessary land on lease and the State Government would ensure that they do not encounter any inconvenience, Biren assured.

Sarbanand Sonowal invited Chief Ministers of all North Eastern States to Global Investors Summit which would be held at Guwahati in February next year.

An Act East Policy Affairs Department has been opened in Assam and one Consulate Office of Bangladesh has been opened at Guwahati.

Sonowal said.

Pema Khandu highlighted Arunachal Pradesh's potential in terms of water resources, biodiversity and tourism and he stated that all investors would be welcomed to his State.

TR Zeliang noted that different festivals celebrated in the North East States can be clubbed together and projected as tourist circuit.

Manipur's Sangai Festival.

Nagaland's Hombill Festival and similar festivals of other North Eastern States are celebrated one after another, he remarked.

He also invited the President, dignitaries and delegates present at the summit to the Hombill Festival which would be held from December 1 to 10 .

Suresh Prabhu said that the North East region is the fastest growing part of the country.

He said that the Government of India would Industrial Policy for the North Eastern States soon.

He said that the new strategy for North East region would be focused on 5E's i.e.protecting environment, improving economy, generating employment arid entrepreneurship.

Stating that the North Eastern part of the country has been neglected for a long time, he said that the Government should focus more on development of the region as it is the gateway to Southeast Asia. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha an: nounced that there will be Imphal to Delhi direct flight services from January 2018 .

Mentioning the importance of improving air connectivity in the region, he said that the Union Government is giving highest priority to provide better connectivity in the region.

He said that the construction of Pakyong Airport of Sikkim is completed and would be inaugurated soon.

He further announced that 19 new airports including Moreh lit Manipur and seven helipads would be constructed in the northeast region shortly.

The Government of India is looking forward to bringing a revolution in terms of connectivity inthe region, he added.

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