Announcing Tripura’s first ever Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Sabroom, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb hoped that foreign investment from Bangladesh will begin to flow into the Northeast state. He said Tripura would be one of the top beneficiaries of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman’s economic reform to cut corporate tax.
“There are many reasons of setting up SEZ at Sabroom. Indian Railways has built goods dumping yard there, Indo-Bangla bridge over River Feni, which is under construction, would be completed by 2020 and an International Check Post (ICP) is in the pipeline there. Chittagong port in Bangladesh is only 60 Km away from Sabroom. It has all the required qualities to have a SEZ,” CM Deb told reporters during a media interaction on Tuesday evening.
Setting up of a SEZ was one of BJP’s poll promises ahead of the 2018 assembly election. It takes at least 25 acres of land to set up a SEZ as per guidelines. But the land available at Sabroom is less than the required number. Chief Minister Deb said his government has sought relaxation on the land requirement and hopes to resolve the issue with support from NITI Ayog.
He also said he would meet Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to New Delhi in October and discuss prospects of foreign investments from the neighbouring country. The CM also said he would submit a memorandum to Minister of External Affairs for facilitating smooth flow of foreign investments into the NE region.
“Bangladesh is our nearest neighbor. If we can attract investors from there, Tripura will see exponential growth. Tripura holds immense potential of foreign investment”, the CM said.
He also reasoned that India will see a steep rise in foreign investments and share market indices since China and USA are locked in a trade war. “The USA is now driving away Chinese companies. Chinese companies will need market and income. So, most of them will try to enter Indian market”, Deb said.
He appealed to investors from Bangladesh to invest in Tripura and said northeastern states now have better connectivity through rail, road and air routes.
Laying out his plans to develop Tripura, Biplab Deb said, “We shall try to attract most benefits of this economic reform. Tripura has a huge market with scope of investments in rubber, tea, tourism. There is immense potential for investment in tourism, handicrafts, rubber, food processing, fisheries, agriculture etc”.
Biplab also said unemployment in Tripura has come down since his government assumed office in March, 2018. Data shows that unemployment fell from 7.45 lakh to 2.56 lakh in Tripura. Sector-wise data will be released later this month.