Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is back to his favourite pastime of inviting industrialists from elsewhere to invest in Assam. We are aware of several Indian industrialists who had agreed to invest in the State more as a polite response to the Chief Minister than as an expression of their real intentions. It is time to ask the Chief Minister how many of the polite promises have been honoured. This time, iugurating the Assam Intertiol Trade and Industrial Fair at Jorhat on Thursday, he invited business communities of the neighbouring countries of Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, Afghanistan and some Southeast Asian countries to explore the potential of trade and commerce in Assam. He extended this invitation on the basis of his claim that Assam now has a “conducive atmosphere” for foreign investment. Unfortutely, we are uble to endorse this view. The talk about “conducive atmosphere” is based on the general lack of information about ground realities that one associates with someone who has spent the best part of 14 years behind heavy security arrangements without being aware of what the real law-and-order situation is in the State even as Home Minister of the State. What induces him to talk about a “conducive atmosphere” is obviously the fact that the rump of Paresh Barua’s ULFA is not as active in carrying out its diverse threats as it used to be. But the number of extortion attempts that are daily reported both in newspapers and TV channels gives us the proper perspective. It passes our understanding how anyone can invite foreign investment in the State when the miserable power scerio has not changed even after 14 years of his rule. And what kind of skilled labour is he going to provide investors from abroad after having so successfully killed all skills with the lure of easy money for everyone? And how can he protect foreign investors from diverse lumpen elements demanding money on pain of death from everyone doing business? Now that even the NSUI has taken up extortions like other gangs and outfits, where does it leave the Chief Minister and his party men? But investors from abroad are not as gullible as the Chief Minister imagines them to be. They too can make empty promises and stay away from a State that has neither electricity nor enough skills for industries.
Investment in Assam