Tea | Oil | Natural Gas | Coal | Granite | Granite | Limestone and Cement | Cottage Industry | Medicinal Plants and herbs | Agar Wood | Agriculture | Exotics | Sericulture | Horticulture and Spices | Forest Resources | Mineral Resources | Tourism | Manpower availability and skills | Industrial Infrastructure | Allied Infrastructure | Power | Transportation | Telecommunications
INDUSTRIES AND MINERALS OF ASSAM
Assam is the major state in the North Eastern Region of India. Assam is also known as the Jewel of the North East. A land of fertile Valleys, dense forest , and the mighty river Brahmaputra and Barak river, this state is divided into three distinct regions with the Brahmaputra valley in the North, the Karbi Anglong and Cachar in the middle and the Barak valley in the South. The capital of Assam is Dispur lies in Guwahati, which is not only the gateway to the seven sisters but also to the whole South East Asia.
Assam is an important state of India with verities of minerals. The largest Industries in Assam are Oil, Tea and Hydrocarbon. Geographically Assam lies in an Oil Rich belt. Assam was the starting point where the OIL Industry in India took its wing. In 1899, the Assam OIL Company was formed as several Oil seepages were observed in the districts of Upper Assam. And as result Digboi Refinery was established with the capacity to refine nearly 500 barrels of Oil a day.
Of the agriculture based industries, Tea occupies an important place in Assam. In Assam, tea is grown in the Brahmaputra and Barak Plains. Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagaon and Sonitpur are the districts where tea gardens are mostly found. Assam produces 51% of the tea produced in India and about 1/6 of the tea produced in the world. In 1970, the Guwahati Tea Auction Center was established for better marketing of the tea produced in this region. This is the World's largest CTC tea auction center and world's second largest in terms of total tea. It now auctions more than 150 million kg of tea valued at more than Rs 550.00 crores annually.
|Assam has the oldest refinery in the country which started commercial production in 1901. Assam was first state in the country where in 1889 oil was struck at Digboi in Tinsukia District. The refinery is now belongs to the Assam Oil Division of Indian Oil Corporation, has a refining capacity of 3 Lakh tones of petrol, kerosene, diesel, and other petroleum products. The second refinery was set up at Noonmati in Guwahati under the Public Sector. It started production in 1962. It produces liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petrol, kerosene, furnace oil, coke etc. the third refinery was established Dhaligaon near Bongaigaon in 1972.|
It is known as Bongaigaon Refinery and Petro-Chemical Limited (BRPL). The fourth refinery was established at Numaligarh of Golaghat district in 1999, with capacity of 3 million tones of oil and other products.
Like petroleum, natural gas is also a valuable source of power and various other chemical bi-products. In Assam almost all the petroleum producing areas of Brahmaputra Valley, specially Naharkatia, Moran, Lakuwa, and Rudrasagar, contains ‘associated natural gas'. There are LPG bottling plants at Duliajan, North Guwahati, Silchar and some more places. The BRPL also uses natural gas as raw material to produce various chemicals. In addition, a gas cracking company, Brahmaputra Cracker & Polymer ltd. Is coming up in the Dibrugarh district and is poised to generate opportunities for a huge number of ancillary industries.
Assam has large reserve of coal. The state is said to contain about 1200 million tones of coal reserves. The entire coal in this region is unique in the sense that it is highly volatile (36% - 15%) and posses high crackling index (10% - 29%).
Assam is endowed with granites of varied colors, ranging from off-white to grey and pink. It is found in central and lower part of Assam. The grey granite is used extensively in road making and railway ballast. So far, it has hardly been exploit for decorative purpose and has great potential.
Limestone and Cement
Limestone is an important mineral which is used in the manufacturing of Cement, as flux in Iron and Steel production and as raw materials for Chemical Industries. There are now several cement factories which has come up in Assam due to availability of high quality limestone in the region.
|Assam is traditionally famous for its Cottage Industry, specially spinning and weaving. Pat or pure silk production is essentially confined to Assam. Assam produces about 10% of total natural silk of India, in addition to Muga, the golden silk. The state is also main production of Endi or Eri. Weaving is a traditional industry which canbe traced back to the very ancient times. There are about 7,00,000 looms in Assam, but only some powered looms of Sualkuchi are used for commercial production of silk cloth.|
Bell-metal along with brass work is another traditional cottage industry with products like traditional plates, cups, tumblers, pitchers, bowls, sarais (a tray with a stand), pots, hookhas and various musical instruments.The total production of marketable finished goods annually is about 300 tonnes.
Major Central PSUs in Assam
♦ Bongaigaon Refineries and Petrochemicals Limited (BRPL)
♦ Bramhaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Limited (BVFCL)
♦ Cement Corporation of India Limited (CCI)
♦ Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd (HPC)
♦ Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL)
♦ Guwahati Refinery
♦ Digboi Refinery
♦ North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO)
♦ Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL)
♦ Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. (NRL)
♦ Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)
♦ Oil India Limited (OIL)
Major State PSUs in Assam
♦ Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC)
♦ Assam Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (AIIDC)
♦ Assam State Electricity Board
♦ Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC)
♦ Assam Gas Company Ltd. (AGLC)
♦ Assam Electronics Development Corporation (AMTRON)
♦ Amtron informatics India Ltd.
♦ Assam Hydrocarbon & Energy Company Limited (AHECL)
♦ Assam Trade Promotion Organization (ATPO)
Major Training and Research Institutions in Assam
♦ Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET)
♦ Central Institute of Indian Languages
♦ Central Institute Technology, Kokrajhar
♦ Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
♦ Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship
♦ National Institute of Technology, Silchar
♦ National Institute of Rural Development
♦ North Eastern Regional Institute of Water & Land Management, Tezpur
♦ Guwahati Stock Exchange, Guwahati
♦ Rain Forest Research Institute(RFRI), Jorhat
♦ Regional Research Laboratory(CSIR), Jorhat
♦ Regional Science Centre, Guwahati
♦ Small Industries Service Institute (SISI)
♦ Tool Room & Training Centre (TRTC), Guwahati
Medicinal Plants and herbs
About 300 types medicinal and plants are known to exist in abundance in Assam. The Brahmaputra valley itself has 150 verities of herbs and plants of commercial value. It is estimated that only about 5-10 percent of the plants and herbs are currently utilized and and the rest hold the vast potential.
Agar Wood (Aquilaria Malaccenkrs)
|Assam soil and climatic conditions are most suitable for plantation of Agar wood. All over the world especially in the Middle East, Assam Agar Oil enjoys an unique brand equity. A large number of farmers in Assam today are planting Agar wood trees as agriculture plantation. Agar wood oil extraction and processing has a vast potential in the state.|
An agrarian economy since time immemorial, about 77% of Assam's workforce is engaged agriculture and allied activities contributing roughly 40% to the state's GDP. Roughly 40% of the total area is cultivated.
Assam Lemon: An unique product of Assam with a percentage of Vitamin C (10mg.) besides Vitamin B (0.02mg.), Niacin (0.1) per 100gm. Extractable oil content of the peel is around 0.8% and can be used in the cosmetic industry.
Hatkora: An exclusive export item belonging to the citrus family. Peel is used in tenderizing meat and enhancing flavor in culinary dishes.
Orchids: Of the 925 varieties available in India, over 600can be grown in Assam. Around 200 varieties are unique to this region of which 60% are ornamental industry.
Aromatic Rice (Joha Rice): Quality comparable with any popular aromatic rice in the world.
Bhut Jalakia (Capsicum Chinese Jacq): Hottest chilli on earth with Scovelli Heat Unit (SHG) of 10, 41, 047.
The climate and general environment of Assam is well suited to sericulture. Traditional varieties of silk cultured include Eri, Muga, and Mulberry. The Muga silk is known for its fine sheen and golden color is used by the local silk weaving Industry and this has contributed to the development of the Muga culture in the state. There are vast opportunities in silk processing and spinning units.
Horticulture and Spices
The agro-climatic conditions favors cultivation of wide range of horticultural crops including plantation crops and various fruits and vegetables, flower, spices, medicinal and aromatic plants, nut crops and tuber crops . Most horticulture products are organic as the use of chemical fertilizer is very low because still the farmers are stick to the traditional organic farming method.
With roughly half forest reserved, the rich forest cover encompasses nearly a quarter of of Assam's land area. Blessed with plentiful, the forest are a reserve of such commercially useful produce like timber, bamboo, stone, cane, etc. bamboo is the most natural engineering material on this planet. India's 64% and world's 20% growing stock of bamboo grows in NE India. NE annually harvests bamboo worth 500 billion rupees. Consumption of wood is rising at 10% per annum in India. As a substitute for wood, it can be extensively used as a material for building, scaffolding and furniture.
Assam is rich in mineral resources like Coal (320 Mn.T.), Limestone (703 Mn.T.), Iron Ore (11Mn.T) and Granite (1 Bn. Cu. Mtrs ) along many more resources like Fireclay, Lithomarge, Fuller's Earth, Sillimanite and Glass Sand. The coal found in Assam has a high sulphur content and high volatile matter content, thereby reducing its cokeability. Limestone with reserves of about 500 million tones is another important resource and is available in various grades. The china clay available in the Karbi-Anglong district is a vital input for the ceramics industry and has already spawned a few small plants. Deposits of decorative stone like granite estimated to be more than a billion cubic meters are available in various shades and colours, which have a huge market potential locally and abroad. Opportunities based on minerals are Gasification & Liquefaction of Coal, De-Sulphurisation of Coal, coal based Power Plant, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Extraction, Exploitation of Oil & Natural Gas and HDPE/LLDPE/Polypropylene based industries.
Energy/ Oil/ Gas based Industry
Assam has over 1.3 billion tones of proven crude oil and 156 billion cu.mt of natural Gas reserves. Superior quality natural gas is available at an attractive price. Assam accounts for about 15% of India's crude output. The well at Digboi, Duliajan, Sivsagar etc also produce Natural Gas accounting to about 50% of India's total off shore production. The HDPE/ JV Companies have made about 32 significant hydrocarbon discoveries.
Tourism has become an important industry in many countries of the world, both east and west. Various initiatives are being taken by the Government and other organizations to promote tourism here. Every year the number of visitors to Assam has been steadily increasing.
Assam's natural landscape, lush green forests, wild life sanctuaries, pilgrimage spots and tea gardens offer a wide choice to cater to the tests of variety of tourists from the casual sightseer to the adventures tourist. With the withdrawal of the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) tourism is poised for a major boom.
Manpower availability and skills
Assam has numerous educational institutions with a substantial portion of the population in the 15 to 25 age group in the major towns being computer literate. The state has a literacy rate of 52.89%. The female literacy in this state 43.03% if higher than the national average of 39.19%. Assam has four Universities and one Agriculture University. It also has three Medical and one for aquaculture. With reference to technical education, the state has four engineering including an IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), 23 Vocational Training Institute (ITI), 8 Polytechnics and 1 Junior Technical College.
Industrial Infrastructure at a Glance
Before going into individual districts, it is pertinent to know the overall industrial infrastructure present in Assam for an investor
♦ 1 Export Promotion Industrial Park
♦ 3 Industrial Growth Centres
♦ 10 Integrated Infrastructure Depots
♦ 16 Industrial Estates
♦ 17 Industrial Areas
♦ 11 Growth Centres
♦ 6 Mini Industrial Estates
Specialized Industrial Park
♦ Food Park at Nalbari
♦ Bamboo Park at Jagiroad
♦ Jute Park at Kharupetia, Udalguri
♦ Textile Park at Silapathar
♦ Plastic Park at Tinsukia
♦ Mega Agro-Hub at Boko
♦ Growth Pole Project at Kamrup
♦ 64 Commercial Estates
♦ 2 Common Service Workshop
All with a total development land area of 10.66sq.km. out of which area covered by common facilities is 2.25sq.km. Area of open space is 8.28sq.km while sheds numbering 1112 cover 125055.19sq.m.
In addition to the industrial infrastructure, Assam boasts of the very well maintained support infrastructure in terms of power, transport and communication
With major energy players like NEEPCO and NHPC in the field of generating power in Assam, the state is well on its way to achieve not only self sufficiency in power but to go into surplus in another two to three years. The Assam State Electricity Board comprising of its five companies dedicated to generation, supply and distribution of power is actively resurrecting power generation and at the same time implementing newer projects.
The major modes of transportation in Assam are roadways, railways, airways and inland waterways.At first, there are two roads cum rail bridges and one road bridge over the river Brahmaputra. Construction of a fourth bridge is about to start and feasibility report on a fifth bridge has been recently completed. With a total road length of approximately 69,000kms. Assam is accounts approximately 60% of the total road length in the North-east. The major towns in the state are connected by National Highways. With a total rail route length of 2435.13kms, Assam has a convenient railway network connecting the state to the rest of the country. Within the State, broad gauge rail network connects all the major towns. The Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport at Guwahati is 18km from the city centre and is well connected to New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
All major airlines operate regular flights to and from Guwahati. There are also regular intrastate air services connecting the six civil airports (Guwahati, Tezpur, Jorhat, Silchar, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur) of the state. Some of the tea gardens have their own air-strips and aircrafts. Additionally, the river Brahmaputra has been declared as the 2nd National Waterway of the country. Two Government-owned organizations (Central Inland Waterways Corporation and Directorate of Inland Waterways, Assam) operate water transport services on the river Brahmaputra and Barak on a commercial basis. These services are used for transportation of passengers and goods alike. Assam's internal waterway network connects it to Bangladesh, giving it access to the ports Chittagong, Kolkata and Haldia.
The telecommunication network in the state is growing at a fast pace compared to other parts of the country. With 269 telephone exchanges with approximately 1,20,000 working connections, Assam also boasts of an excellent mobile phone, WLL and broadband internet connectivity provided by a number of national telecom giants.