Guwahati diary: Assam capital gears up for two-day global investment summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate “Advantage Assam” in the presence of business tycoons Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, Dilip Shanghvi and others.

‘Advantage Assam’

Guwahati is being spruced up in view of a two-day global investment summit, titled “Advantage Assam”, beginning on February 3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the summit in the presence of business tycoons Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, Dilip Shanghvi and others. Industrialists from other countries will also participate. According to Assam’s industries minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, the state government will seek investment in 12 sectors. The summit is also a step towards making Guwahati a destination for doing business with south-east Asian countries.

Dedicated corridors for cyclists

Cyclists in Guwahati will soon have something to cheer about. The ever-crowded city is set to get five dedicated cycling corridors. Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner M Angamuthu, who is also the managing director of Guwahati smart city board of directors, says the objective behind the initiative is to encourage the use of bicycles. Vehicular traffic is likely to be restricted on all the envisaged cycling corridors. “We want to develop five cycling corridors in and around Guwahati where cyclists can cycle safely,” he said. Last year, the Assam State Zoo in Guwahati allowed cycling by visitors inside the zoo.

Smuggling gold in rectum

Guwahati is emerging as a corridor for smuggling of gold. In the past fortnight, a number of smugglers were arrested in the state, mostly at the Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati. In all cases, the arrested smugglers were found carrying gold biscuits and gold bars concealed in their rectum. The presence of gold was detected during frisking with metal detectors. According to customs officials, gold is smuggled from Thailand to Myanmar and then into India via Manipur and Mizoram. Following the seizures, the border towns in the two states, as well as airports and railway stations across Assam, have been alerted.

Anti-Nagalim protests spill over to Guwahati

Protests triggered by media reports that Assam’s Dima Hasao district will be integrated with “Nagalim” or “Greater Nagaland” as part of a peace agreement between the Centre and Naga insurgents have spilled over to Guwahati. Several organisations, mostly of tribals, are ventilating their ire on the streets of the city. They condemned Thursday’s police firing at Maibong in the restive district that left two protestors dead and several others injured. Demanding that the Centre make public the contents of a “Framework Agreement” signed with Naga insurgents in 2015, the organisations warned that they would not tolerate alleged state-sponsored terrorism and stage protests across the state in the coming days.

Prasanta Mazumdar

Our correspondent in Guwahati

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