Sonowal appeals for help in reviving Assam paper mills

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Guwahati, April 23 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help to revive the Ashok, Nagaon and Cachar Paper Mills, saying their resumption will provide a boost to the state’s rural economy.

In his address at the third Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog here, Sonowal requested Modi to assist the state government in reviving the Ashok Paper Mill and restart the functioning of two units of Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC). He also requested continuation of the existing North East Industrial Investment Promotion Policy 2007 (NEIIPP) till a new policy is put in place.

“NEIIPP 2007 has led to significant industrial investment in Assam to the tune of around Rs 5,000 crore before its expiry on March 31 this year. Till a new industrial policy is put in place, NEIIP may be allowed to continue,” he said.

The Chief Minister also pleaded that the Union Finance Ministry and NITI Aayog be asked to evolve a mechanism for scheme-wise allocation of Central share well in advance to enable the states to prepare a realistic resource-based action plan. Non-availability of scheme-wise allocation of Central share before the presentation of a state budget creates difficulties in reflecting the correct allocation of funds against each scheme, he added.

“I believe that for a country like ours, we need a long horizon vision supported by appropriate strategy and practical action plans for realizing the avowed vision,” he said.

The Chief Minister also said that a special session of the Assam Legislative Assembly will be held from May 8 next for consideration and enactment of the Assam Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

Lauding the Central Government for considering the amount of revenue forgone due to industrial concession as a part of revenue for the purpose of calculating GST compensation, Sonowal said this will protect the interests of the northeastern States and Jammu & Kashmir and help in bringing them at par with other states in terms of industrialisation.

Reiterating his government’s commitment to Modi’s vision of Digital India, Sonowal urged the Telecom Ministry to put special emphasis on providing internet access in rural areas of the state. “For making digital payments a reality in rural areas, we need better banking infrastructure and good internet connectivity,” he said.

–IANS

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