Investment outlook hit due to violent protests in Assam: Chandra Mohan Patowary


Guwahati, Dec 18: The Assam government on Wednesday said the positive investment outlook in the state was hit due to violent protests against the new citizenship law.

Addressing a press conference, Assam Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the state has received investment commitment to the tune of Rs 58,000 crore since the BJP-led government came to power in 2016.

“The biggest loss is the investment outlook. Just two days before the violence broke out, a Norway-based company had talked with us to invest Rs 2,000 crore in Assam. Following the outbreak of protests, they called and asked whether it is safe to invest,” he said.

There were investment proposals from companies from four more countries, Patowary said.

Asked about the Norway-based company’s decision, he said, “We requested them to invest as there is no issue.”

In the last three years, 80,000 jobs were provided only through the state industry department while over two lakh youths would be trained through skill development mission, he said.

“Already, we have received commitment for Rs 58,000 crore investment,” he said.

Patowary, who is also the commerce and industry minister, said if the investment atmosphere in the state deteriorates, employment generation will be a big issue.

“We already have 22 lakh unemployed youths,” he said.

The senior minister alleged that “a third force or a political party” has been trying to “destabilize” the state, amid peaceful agitation by organisations like AASU, AJYCP and Asam Sahitya Sabha.

“This third force has an objective to disturb the developmental works undertaken by the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Assam government will not accept that and will take action,” he said.

In a bid to allay fears among protesters about the new citizenship law, he said that “only a negligible number” of people will be benefited from the legislation.

He, however, did not divulge the exact number despite queries by the media.

Asked about steps taken by the government to pacify the agitators, Patowary said, “We have respect for all those protesting peacefully and democratically. We will ask them for talks if necessary… We cannot repeal the Act.”

Assam is witnessing one of the worst violent protests by the public in its history with three rail stations, a post office, a bank, a bus terminus, shops, dozens of vehicles and other public properties being set ablaze or ransacked.

Five persons, including four in firing by security forces, have lost their lives since Wednesday.

After the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday night, the state erupted in protests, in which agitators fought pitched battles with the police in almost every major city or town, forcing the administration to impose curfew.(PTI)