Assam could emerge as the hub of trade and commerce between India and the ASEAN by replicating infrastructure development models adopted by Yunnan and the Greater Mekong sub-region, Kenichi Yokoyama, India director of Asian Development Bank said here on Sunday.
Yokoyama said Assam was at a very advantageous position being geographically located at the centre of the regional cooperation framework in Asia. “Strong trade relationship with neighbouring countries enable Yunnan reach what it is today in terms of growth. A similar growth trajectory is possible for Assam, provided it is replicated here,” he said.
Assam could also adopt the infrastructure development model that had helped in transformation of the Greater Mekong sub-region, in which ADB could provide vital support, Yokoyama said.
He also suggested adopting a strategy of integrated development of infrastructure to achieve this. “Priority should be on certain specific areas like transportation, urban planning and infrastructure, human capital, energy, agriculture, food processing, IT, IteS, tourism, healthcare, and higher educational skills,” he added.
Yokoyama also said that Guwahati would have to be prepared for massive expansion. “Guwahati should be prepared for accommodating five million people in the next five years in order to become the real hub. For that the city would require a massive expansion plan,” he said.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal said while his government had already notified an ambitious State Capital Region plan. “The new terminal building of the LGB International Airport, that is being built a cost of Rs 1,232 crore will spread across an area of 90,000 sq metre. Likewise, while the State Capital Region will encompass a large area spread across five adjoining districts, Guwahati has also found place in the list of Smart Cities,” chief minister Sonowal said.
MoUs worth Rs 1 lakh crore signed
As the two-day Global Investment Summit “Advantage Assam” came to an end on Sunday, officials said over 200 MoUs were signed across several sectors, with the total project costs reaching Rs 1 lakh crore. While 176 MoUs worth Rs 65,000 crore were signed on Saturday, 25 were inked on Sunday, taking the total to Rs 1 lakh crore, officials said.