The prevailing situation in the state is driving away the prospective investors.
Guwahati: The ongoing agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and the state government’s announcement to introduce new land policy putting restriction on sale of land to the non-indigenous people have impacted the investment scnario in Assam. The prevailing situation in the state is driving away the prospective investors.
Informing that many companies, who were in process of procuring land to start new ventures in Assam, have put their projects on hold, sources in the industry told this newspaper. They said that the state government’s decision to introduce “new land policy” in which the government is contemplating to ban sale of land to non-indigenous people, has created fear among industrialists who had invested huge amount of money in land.
Pointing out that dozens of sale and purchase agreements have already been cancelled or put on hold, sources said that fear of crash in land price is also looming large.
Talking about the mpact of the anti-CAA protests recently, Assam minister for commerce and industry, transport and parliamentary affairs Chandra Mohan Patowary told reporters, “Many companies are now refusing to come here. Being the industry minister, I am today the most despondent person in Assam. There are companies from countries like Hungary and Norway which were keen to invest in the state.
Now, they are calling us and saying that they are no longer willing to do so. One company was planning to invest Rs 2,000 crore, while another had investment plans of Rs 4,000 crore. But, now they are telling us that this is not the correct time to hedge their bets on Assam.”
He, however, refrained from giving the exact figures regarding the loss of prospective investment suffered by the state or the number of companies which have backtracked due to the anti-CAA agitation.
Mr Patowary, who was working tirelessly to bring investment, said that once a state loses its image as an ideal investment destination, it is not easy to regain that status. He said that corporate houses seek favourable environment.
He argued, “Today, there is peace in Kashmir. But companies are still reluctant to invest there, because once an impression is formed then it becomes difficult to change it. The northeast was a disturbed region for a long time. But, in the past three and half years, the image of Assam had changed and companies were making a beeline here. Then scenes of burning tyres on the streets became viral in the social med and th scnee changed. It is a huge loss for Assam.”
He further said that Abu Dhabi-based billionaire businessman B.R. Shetty, who had shown interest in acquiring the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills, has also now become reluctant to go ahead with the plan.
“He called a few days back and said that he will not come to Assam now as the time is not conducive. But, I have not given up hope. I will talk to Mr Shetty again. If necessary, I will visit Abu Dhabi and meet him,” said Mr Patowary, while regretting that a big food processing firm from London was also keen to start its business in Assam and is now reluctant because of the current situaton in state.
“They wanted to set up a unit in Assam. Now, the company has cancelled the plan,” said the industry minister.
He reiterated that all sections of society should come together to ensure that agitation should not hurt the economic and development prospects of the state.