[THE TIMES OF INDIA] COLLEGE DROPOUT-TURNED-MILLIONAIRE VOWS TO PROMOTE TOURISM IN NEadmin
GUWAHATI: A college dropout from Hojai who went on to become the owner of a multimillion-dollar group of companies in Laos, Habib Mohammad Chowdhury, has vowed to promote tourism and the culture of the northeast in southeast Asia.
“I have been trying my best to start cultural exchanges between the northeast and Laos. I see plenty of opportunities in the tourism sector here. It will be great if we can send Bihu and sattriya troupes to Laos and vice-versa. That’s how we can better the relationship between the two regions,” Chowdhury said while addressing an entrepreneurs’ conclave, ‘Parivatan’, here on Thursday. He was felicitated at the event for his achievements in the field of entrepreneurship.
Chowdhury, who was born and brought up in Hojai in Nagaon district, struggled hard to set up the HSMM Group of Companies in Laos which has emerged as the largest agarwood and agar-based product company in southeast Asia. Besides agarwood products, Chowdhury also deals in perfume and minerals. His companies currently hold more than four lakh agar plantations.
“Due to financial crisis, I had to drop out of college. Leaving everything behind, I went to Dubai in the early 1990s to earn money. I wanted to make my family comfortable,” he recalled.
Chowdhury did not rest on his laurels. At the India-Laos Business Forum in 2010, he founded the Indian Chamber of Commerce (INCHAM) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. He also initiated implementation of the ‘Look East Policy’, now known as the ‘Act East Policy’, in the northeast.
“The northeast is a very important and strategic location. Nestled between Bangladesh, China, Bhutan and Myanmar, it is ideally positioned for trans-border trade. Moreover, the ASEAN region is one of the most dynamic economic regions of the world today. The Act East Policy of our government offers a huge opportunity to transform the economic landscape of this region,” he added.