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Industry Minister Jitendra Chaudhury on Tripura's Industry,IT,Resources,Rural Development
Industry Minister Jitendra Chaudhury on Tripura's Industry,IT,Resources,Rural Development

Despite multitude problems caused by the locational disadvantage, limited infrastructure and other issues, Tripura is forging ahead in many fronts. In an exclusive interview to TRIPURAINFOWAY.Com (TIWN), Mr Jitendra Chaudhury, Minister for Industries & Commerce, Forest, IT and RD explains priorities, prospects and problems.

TIWN: What are your priorities as Industries & Commerce Minister?

Industry Minister: My priorities remain unchanged over the years. The same priorities which I emphasize at every forum: promoting industries based on local resources and creating maximum job opportunities for local people.

There is another point to which I attach a good deal of importance, namely, the political stability and the transparency in the functioning of the State Government. In this regard, I can proudly claim, Tripura is much ahead of many other States in the country

TIWN: What initiatives taken for development of Industries in Tripura ? 

IM: Talking about initiatives taken for development of Industries in Tripura, Our state is a land locked state, for development of industry it is essential to have a good road, rail and air connectivity. Industry based on raw materials they are being transported from other regions. Being a land locked state and the hindrances in communication, our focus is a lot on our own resources and thus on industries based on rubber, gas, horticulture, farms products and forestry.


Industry Minister and Tripura Govt delegation Official visit to Germany in 2013. TIWN Photo

TIWN: What are the problems?

IM: The problems are many – the problem of isolation because of our geographical location, infrastructure, and at one time, the State was ravaged by militancy. We cannot do anything about our location. We're trying our best to improve infrastructure and we can claim some success in it because improving connectivity is not entirely in our hands. The militancy problem has been successfully tackled. We've succeeded in bringing a large number of misguided people into the mainstream and rehabilitate them.


TIWN: How can neighboring Bangladesh help in this regard?

IM: The geographical proximity between Bangladesh and the northeast should be beneficial to both. Bangladeshi businessmen should utilize resources in the northeast, to set up agro-based industries and gas-based units like a fertilizer factory. Tripura is a potential hub of trade with Bangladesh in the entire northeast India.  Bangladeshi products have a competitive advantage due to lower transportation costs. Our neighboring country and the northeast have “a lot of potentialities and concerns” and must try to engage in fruitful cooperation. We want connectivity of not only roads and infrastructure…. we want connectivity of minds”.


Industry Minister Jiten Chaudhury in a discussion with Chinese Govt. officials at Calcutta in 2013. TIWN Photo

TIWN: What about Forest Right Acts?

IM: Tripura ranks number one on the performance list, having granted maximum per cent of the claims received, Karnataka comes a distant 15, after Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, which have granted 12.87 per cent and 13.41 per cent respectively. The Centre is not sincere in implementing the Forest Right Act (FRA) so that the interests of the corporate houses are protected. In the name of mining and implementing development works in the forest areas the corporate houses are looting people and if the Forest Right Act is implemented properly in the forest areas, the interests of the corporate houses would be hampered. So, the central government is not sincere in implementing this act.


TIWN: Why Tripura succeeded in implementing the Act?

IM: A strong willpower to improve the life of tribals in his State had led to distribution of pattas under Forest Rights Act to all the applicants. We had involved eight departments in implementation of a comprehensive action plan after distributing pattas for two lakh hectares to all the applicants under the Forest Rights Act.


TIWN: What about development in Rural Tripura?

IM: The government is committed to people’s participation at the grassroots by strengthening the panchayati raj institutions, we had achieved 96 per cent literacy by the year-end. Tripura had 100 per cent enrolment of children in the age group of 6-14. The government was offering free education to all up to degree level.

About 90 per cent of villages with all-weather roads and provided 90 per cent households with power connections. Under MGNREGP, he said, they had been successful in creating 87 per cent man-days as against national average of 39 man-days.The Minister said they had proved wrong the claim of some parties that due to population explosion, the fruits of development were not reaching the tribal areas.


TIWN: What are the prospects of IT sector?

IM: On prospect of Information Technology, Tripura government, supported by the Software Technology Park of India (STPI), is setting up a Software Technology Park (STP) to boost information technology in northeast India and to reach out to people of rural and remote areas with e-governance. This will be the fifth such IT Park in the region. Tripura has 1036 gram panchayats and ADC villages out of which 145 numbers are yet to be covered in respect of mobile phone connectivity and in respect of internet connectivity. Alternate telecom routing through Akhaura to Agartala as well as internet connectivity through Cox’s Bazar has been proposed with Bangladesh authorities vigorously for improving telecommunication facilities in the north eastern region, including, Tripura.


Industry Minister visiting Infosys campus at Bangalore in 2013. TIWN Photo

TIWN: How do you see the ransacking of CPI (M) party offices recently on UGT recruitment issue?

IM: This is an act of cowardice; by ransacking party offices nothing can be achieved. Those who are involved should understand that Left Front government in spite of limited resources did not stop the recruitment process. Each and every day we are getting direction from the Centre to stop the recruitment process in a phased manner, but thinking about the thousands of unemployed youth we are not paying any heed to the pressure of Central Government.            


TIWN: Will launch of AAP in Tripura have any consequence?

IM: Not at all, it’s an open secret that our government has the most clean image in the country. Whereas in Delhi which was ruled by both BJP and Congress was drowned in corruption, people want something different so they have voted for AAP.


 Industry Minister, Tripura Govt. delegation official Germany visit, 2013. TIWN Photo



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