Mizoram’s location can make state gateway for international trade with South East Asia: CM
KOLKATA — Mizoram Chief Minister Lalduhoma on Friday said that his state’s location, bordering Bangladesh in the west and Myanmar in the east, affords it a unique location-specific advantage as it can act as a gateway for international trade with South East Asian countries with facilitation of trade growing over the years following improvements in road, rail and air connectivity.
Addressing a felicitation and interactive session at Merchant’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kolkata, he said that the state needs meaningful investment from both the Central government and private players, both domestic and foreign.
“We do not have many natural resources that traditionally make a region suitable for large scale investment. However, we are blessed with rich flora, fauna and forest cover extending to 85 per cent of the state’s geographical area. Our state could be a goldmine for researchers seeking out medicinal and aromatic plants,” he said.
Noting that Mizoram is the second-largest producer of bamboo in northeastern India and there is immense potential for the commercial exploitation of this plant, Lalduhoma said that the state is also the second largest producer of strawberries in India.
The climate in Mizoram is conducive for the breeding and commercial exploitation of all kinds of silkworms.
“In fact, sericulture is one of our key industries and my government would attempt to bring about faster growth in this sector,” he added.
Also noting that Mizoram has an abundance of greenery and has immense potential for tourism of the sustainable kind, the Chief Minister said that the steep terrain in many places also translates into some of the most beautiful landscapes and scenery in the country.
Rolling hills, serene valleys, lush green forests, lakes and rivers are a major feature of the landscape here, Lalduhoma said adding that Mizoram is offering eco-friendly and sustainable tourism that respects the fragile ecology of the state and our meager population.
“Kerala, being the state with the highest overall literacy in India also has a high financial literacy rate of over 35 per cent. On the other hand, the figure for Mizoram is just over 6 per cent, which is abysmally low, especially considering the fact that we live in an age where knowledge of basic financial concepts, personal finance etc. are crucial and literacy, in and of itself, is meaningless in the job market. This is another area where we need to grow,” he noted.
He also said that Mizoram handlooms and handicrafts are well known throughout the country but need more investment and exposure to new markets while agriculture is still the main occupation of the people of the state.
Lalduhoma, who assumed the office as Chief Minister on December 8, said that his government has already initiated action on various aspects, perhaps the most significant of which is giving general consent to the Central Bureau of Investigation through a gazette notification issued just a few days ago, to freely and seamlessly investigate cases in Mizoram when required.
“I intend to lead a government that has nothing to hide and I think this step alone should be a clear indication of our determination to curb corruption and to punish those who choose to continue along that path,” he said.