Help regional films: Gogoi

Guwahati: Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday asked the state government to provide financial aid to regional filmmakers instead of helping Bollywood or Hollywood to improve the state’s tourism potential.

“A financially backward state like Assam will face a crisis if it provides 25 per cent financial aid to a Bollywood or Hollywood film, which often have budgets running into several hundreds of crores of rupees. The state government should instead concentrate on reviving Assamese films,” he said.

Stating the new tourism policy of the BJP-led government was a political gimmick, Gogoi said, “There is a lot of potential in our state. The government funds should be used for the development of regional films. The tourism policy, to inspire filmmaker and actors from outside to come here, will not develop our state. Priyanka Chopra will not be able to attract tourists to Assam if we lack infrastructure.”

The new tourism policy, unveiled on Thursday, announced that the state government would bear 25 per cent of the expenditure incurred by the production house of a Hindi, English or foreign language film while shooting in Assam. To avail of the benefit, the production house must have made at least five films.

“If the story is based on Assam, we will bear another 10 per cent of the expenditure. If more than 50 per cent of the film is shot in the state, we will give another 10 per cent. There will be no upper limit,” state tourism minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said.

He also said the Assamese film industry is under the cultural affairs department.

Criticising the road and power supply condition, Gogoi said, “All policies will fail as the roads are in a pathetic state. Meetings and roadshows will be organised but no investor will come forward when they travel on the worst roads. Moreover, Assam faces heavy deficit of power. We have to develop our power sector before any investment happens in reality.”

“During my tenure, I approached many foreign companies but none was interested as Assam did not have a market. Even many national companies did not agree to invest in Assam. The government should set up domestic units first. The plastic industrial park is still a dream because the government has made no effort to set it up. Moreover, availability of land is a big problem. Where will the government allot thousands of bighas if any international company wants to invest? To make such investments become a reality, infrastructure will have to be in place. But I have not seen any such initiative,” he said.

Manash Pratim Dutta Telegraph India

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