Lepetkata (Assam): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday batted for a new development model for the north-eastern states to enable the harnessing of the 'collective strength' of the region along with the neighbouring countries as part of the Centre's 'Act East Policy'.
During a visit to Assam, he said that the development of the north-eastern and eastern states of the country is a matter of priority for his government.
"There must be a new development model for north-eastern states so that the collective strength of the region along with the neighbouring countries of Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia can be achieved," Modi said after dedicating the Brahmaputra Cracker Polymer Ltd BCPL) and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd's wax plant to the nation.
"There must be balanced and all-round development of the country. It cannot be that the western part of India progresses, but the eastern and north-eastern parts lag behind.
"In that case, the nation's development will remain incomplete," he said.
The Prime Minister said that the inauguration of the two projects would lead to a 'Rashtriya Vikas Yatra' and "bring immense joy to the people of the state as well as to the rest of the country".
"If the then Prime Minister had the opportunity to inaugurate the projects 25 years ago, new industries and employment opportunities would have come up and there would have been all-round development and happiness in the state," he said.
"If the projects had been completed 25 years ago, the second generation of people would have reaped benefits from these units. An entire generation has lost the benefits of these projects," the Prime Minister said.
Modi said his government had evolved a new development model for the north-east and strengthening of the railway infrastructure of the region was the first step in that direction.
"Lack of connectivity has hampered the development of the region. Strengthening of the railway infrastructure will connect Assam and the north-east with the rest of the country," he said.
The Prime Minister said in the past, projects were not planned in time and, even after their conception, they were not completed within the stipulated period. "It seems it is my luck to complete all good work and it is my government's effort to ensure that all incomplete and good projects, irrespective of who began it, are completed within the scheduled time," he said.
"I have taken the initiative and make a special effort to complete stalled projects aimed at the welfare of the people and development of the nation. I talk to the chief secretaries of the states to ensure that pending projects are completed at the earliest," Modi said.
"If India needs to progress, we have to ensure that all projects are completed within the stipulated time so that the nation can develop," he said. The Prime Minister said that the two projects would help in the setting up of many small factories in Assam and youths in the state should take advantage of the government's 'Start- up India, Stand up India' initiative along with the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
"Assam's youth is intelligent and capable and should come forward to set up industries by taking advantage of the incentives under these schemes," he said. He said that while the importance of the plastic industry is well-known, its production in the country is low.
"There is a potential for setting up of plastic industry in the region and youths should come forward to start enterprises in this sector," he said. Modi said his government was also committed to skill development of the youths of the region to ensure an increase in their earning power. He also said his government was committed to the principle of cooperative federalism and both the Centre and the state government would work together to ensure all-round progress and development.
BCPL was conceptualised to implement Assam Gas Cracker project, an outcome of the historic Assam Accord signed in 1985. BCPL is a central public sector enterprise under the department of chemicals and petrochemicals and the project was approved by the Centre on April 18, 2006.
The Rs 10,000-crore BCPL plant can manufacture 2,80,000 tonnes per annum of polymer products which will spur growth of new downstream plastic processing industries in the north-east besides reducing dependency on polymer supply from other parts of the country, officials said.
It has generated direct employment for 700 people and indirect employment for around 2,500 people in the project complex. Moreover, it will generate nearly one lakh indirect employment opportunities through the setting up of various downstream plastic processing industries and ancillaries in the region, they said.
The BCPL complex is situated at Lepetkata, about 15km from here, and is spread over 3,000 bighas of land, which was acquired and handed over by Assam government to BCPL. The feedstock for the project will be natural gas and naphtha, which will be supplied by Oil India Ltd, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and NRL.
Numaligarh Refinery Ltd's 50,000 metric tonne (MT) wax plant, which too was dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister, was commissioned in March, 2015, at a cost of Rs 676 crore and is the country's largest wax producing unit with indigenous technology developed by the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun, Engineers India Ltd (EIL) and NRL.
Leveraging the inherent properties of wax-rich crude oil from the oil fields of Assam, the plant is designed to produce superior-quality paraffin and semi-microcrystalline wax and is a manifestation of the 'Make in India' campaign of the Centre.
At present, a major part of the country's annual demand for paraffin wax along with the entire demand for microcrystalline wax is met through imports and the wax plant will minimise the supply deficit, a NRL release said.
NRL is also exploring opportunities to export wax to the neighbouring countries after aligning with the 'Act East Policy' of the Centre, it said. The wax plant will also open up opportunities for ancillary industries and create avenues for large-scale employment, it said.
Paraffin wax is used to make candles, tarpaulin sheets, food-grade wrappers and for the manufacture of PVC pipes while microcrystalline wax is used in the manufacture of tyres, rubber products, paints and polishes, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.