In a survey conducted by a leading newspaper in 2006, Guwahati figured in the top 10 cities in terms of per capita income, savings and expenditure, in contrast to its home state Assam’s per capita income figures. Five star hotels, multiplexes, malls, department stores stocking the latest brands…all these have made their debut in Guwahati, shocking the first time visitor who carries a prejudiced view of insurgency-torn Assam.
The commercial capital of the north east lies at the heart of India’s tea industry and handles 55% of the country’s annual tea produce. Being the gateway to the northeast, most multinationals and banks have chosen to locate their zonal offices in Guwahati.
Accounting for 24% of the total urban population of Assam, Guwahati rests against the picturesque backdrop of the Shillong Plateau, traversing the mighty Brahmaputra from the southern to the northern banks. Dispur, the state capital, is located within Guwahati.
Though the city houses several institutes of repute, they are woefully inadequate. Fighting hard to join the mainstream, there is a crying need for better infrastructure and more educational institutions in Guwahati to equip the city’s youth with skills that would further drive the economy.
Infrastructure and Facilities
In May 2006, a Rs.47 billion package to revive the tea industry was announced, with Assam getting a 60% share to resuscitate the flagging industry. Though largely agrarian, Guwahati is benefiting from the state government’s efforts to move towards a technology oriented economy with the setting up of the Software Technology Park which maintains a facility in Borjhar and Panbazar and offers infrastructure to software exporters and IT entrepreneurs.
Export oriented units in the city are supported by the Export Promotion Industrial Park (EPIP) in Amingaon, where tea jute products, silk garments, handloom and handicrafts, food processing, ayurvedic medicines, spice based units, cane and bamboo products are offered integrated services.
Business and trade would find an avenue for expression once the Trade-cum-Exhibition Centre being set up by the India Trade Promotion Organisation is ready.
To host the 33rd National Games in 2007 in Guwahati, several infrastructure projects were set up, including the Inter State Bus Terminus (I.S.B.T) at Kathabari, a fly over project on G.S. Road near Vangagar, and an Athletics stadium at Saru Sajai.
Guwahati’s accessibility improved vastly after the Rajdhani Express train service was introduced from Delhi.. Public and private aviation companies operate flights out of Guwahati, and Air India operates a direct flight to Bangkok on Mondays and Thursdays.