An Exclusive interview of Tarun Gogoi, chief minister of Assam
| by Swadesh Roy
( February 16, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) The visit of four chief minister of north east India was a message for the Bangladeshi people. We want to convey this message to Bangladeshi people that, India want a special relation with Bangladesh and north east India. To build up this relation, Assam government is doing all the things and will do in future. Economy will be the main catalyst of that relation. That is why the businessmen of Bangladesh can invest in any sector in Assam. We have some same problem; one of them is the flow of river Bramahaputra. Besides that, there is some sort of anger in Assam about Tipaimuk dam. We have to calculate the loss and profit of the dam. If we find that total dam is harmful or losing concern for Assam we are against dam. If we find that dam is profitable for us, then we are in favor of dam.
|Tarun Gogoi, chief minister of Assam – File Photo|
On 25th January Tarun Gogoi the chief minister of Assam gave an exclusive interview in his office. In his interview he talked about his visit to Bangladesh, special relation of north east India and Bangladesh and Tipaimuk dam issue. Details of his interview are given here.
Swadesh Roy: you have visited Bangladesh with your Prime minister, could you explain a reaction about your visit?
Tarun Gogoi: It was a more successful visit. In all quarters we got a warm reaction. In spite of our scheduled meeting I talked with the common people of Bangladesh and the elites such as justices, bureaucrats, lawyers and other professionals. We also talked with media. We could understand that, all are happy and they also need a better relationship.
Swadesh Roy: What is the outcome of the visit?
Tarun Gogoi: This is good for both the countries. Problems are there. We have to solve it. But a lot of problems are common, as Bramahaputra flow. It is a common problem of two countries. Definitely we want to solve it jointly.
Swadesh Roy: For the first time four chief minister of north east India visited Bangladesh with yours Prime Minister. Does it show that, India is thinking a close or special relation with Bangladesh and north east India?
Tarun Gogoi: That was the main purpose; we gave the message that, we want to develop a special relation with north east India and Bangladesh.
Swadesh Roy: What kinds of transit facilities does Assam want from Bangladesh?
Tarun Gogoi: All the connectivity, road, water, rail connectivity. Basically we want to revive all types of connectivity which was before 1947. We also want the Chittagong, Asugang and Mongla port facilities.
Swadesh Roy: We know, Bangladesh wants a close economical relation with north east India. Is your government working in favor of it?
Tarun Gogoi: Government of India has taken some steps in favor of it. Besides that, it is for our interest. What is the transit for? Whole purpose is trade concern. We are working for a strong and fruitful economical relation.
Swadesh Roy: Assam has more hydro electric potentiality, how Bangladesh can share it?
Tarun Gogoi: We have smaller hydro electric potentiality. Most of it is in Arunachal.
Swadesh Roy: Is it possible that, Bangladeshi business man can invest in Assam?
Tarun Gogoi: They can invest here, any investor of Bangladesh can come here and they can do any business and can invest in any sector.
Swadesh Roy: We know that, Assam had tried to set up jute mills in large scale but they failed. Do you think Bangladesh and Assam can work in Jute sector jointly?
Tarun Gogoi: I will be happy if anybody comes forward.
Swadesh Roy: If it is Bangladesh Government?
Tarun Gogoi: Definitely, if I can talk with Bangladesh Government we can go for a joint venture.
Swadesh Roy: In Assam I have seen a lot of people is against Tipaimuk Dam, Bangladesh is worried about it. What is the opinion of you on that issue?
Tarun Gogoi: Any dam has two views. Which can bring benefit for the country on the other hand it can be harmful for the country. Now we have to calculate the loss and profit of this dam. If it is profitable for country we are in favor of the dam. But comparing with profit if loss is more we are totally against the dam.
Swadesh Roy: We know that electricity is necessary for development. But people of Bangladesh are worried on dam issue- what is the way to solve the matter ?
Tarun Gogoi: We want Bangladesh will involve in this dam and if any benefit comes they will have the share of it.
Swadesh Roy: What is the assessment about Sheik Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh?
Tarun Gogoi: I consider her as a most dynamic leader. She has been trying to make friendship with north east India. She also is trying to improve her country Bangladesh and her people.
Swadesh Roy: She has visited North East Indian state Tripura recently. Do you want her to visit your state?
Tarun Gogoi: We will be happy and I will be the happiest person if she visits our state.
Swadesh Roy, executive editor, The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangaldesh.