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Posted at: Mar 19, 2017, 12:02 AM; last updated: Mar 19, 2017, 12:02 AM (IST)

Trade-wise, N-E can take you to E Asia

Vijay C Roy in Chandigarh
Trade-wise, N-E can take you to E Asia
The N-E region is rich in bamboo products.
The North-Eastern states are politically and geographically distant from North. The region is full of hydro energy, oil, gas, coal, limestone and other natural resources and seeks investment from northern states, especially Punjab and Haryana, in agriculture, dairy, food processing, agriculture farm machinery, tourism, entrepreneurship, microfinance, and technology transfer. 

The 'Destination North East' organized by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in association with Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), offered much more, topmost being is its easy access to Bangladesh and Myanmar markets. That indicates that the region is an ideal destination for small and medium entrepreneurs. 

At present, there are 8,567 registered factories in NER employing more than 3 lakh workers. Gopal Jiwarjka, president, PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry says the region is the eastern gateway for the country's 'Look East Policy'. The Tribune explores possible potential areas of cooperation between the two regions:

Agriculture

This is an area where Northern region especially Punjab and Haryana farmers can collaborate with North eastern states. "The farmers have expertise and have done wonders even overseas. For example, per hectare production of paddy in Punjab is around 6,000 kg. But in North-East, it is 200 kg per hectares. So, progressive farmers of Punjab can go there and help in boosting the production," says CK Das, member, NEC. The main crops in N-E are paddy, tea, jute, mustard, black gram, fruits and vegetables. Similarly is the potential for agro-processing industries. 

Dairy

Punjab is one of the states where the milk yield at 2,270 kg per lactation is one of the highest in the country. In North East, despite having high milk rearing population of one crore, the average yield is around 1,200 litres per lactation. "The progressive dairy farmers in Punjab and Haryana can set up dairy farms in the region to cater to the local needs," says Das. 

Manufacturing, IT

Punjab and Haryana are a hub of agricultural machinery manufacturers. Popularity of farm equipment, such as laser leveler, paddy transplanter and harvester, has opened new opportunities for the manufacturers. Compared to North, there is low level of mechanisation in farm sector, says Gautam Chintay, adviser (banking, industries & tourism). With the increasing need for precision implements and machinery other than tractor, there is an immense potential in this region. "So if a small entrepreneur sets up a unit in N-E, he can not only serve the over 5 crore population of the region but also Bangladesh and Myanmar markets," says Chintay. He cites IT and services sector as other areas needing investment. The North-East shares 98% of its border with Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, and Myanmar, so, it can be a safe transit point for trade.

Tourism

The North-Eastern has diverse cultures, traditions, amazing history, spectacular natural beauty, and rich biodiversity - the ingredients for a massive tourism potential. The Ministry of Tourism has identified a thematic circuit for the North-East. Hospitality chains such as the Taj, Radisson are already operational in Guwahati. Gautam Chintey says air connectivity within north-eastern states has improved. Managing Director, Hotel Aroma, Chandigarh, Manmohan Singh Kohli says more air connectivity to the North-East can reduce travel time. He suggests that the flights should be named after famous places of the North-East. 

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