Assam-born NRI businessman honoured at North East Festival in Delhi

New Delhi: Normally most people of Northeast came from the South East Asian countries and settled in this part of the country. But for 43-year-old Habib Mohammed Chowdhury, a successful businessman born in remote Hojai village in Assam, it is the reverse.

He went all the way to Laos and settled there as his business flourished.

Sensing good opportunities for business Habib moved to Dubai in 1989. He successfully managed his trading business in Dubai till 1997 but moved back to Laos and started building his business empire.

He started Agro business with Laos Agar International Development Co. Ltd. which is the biggest Agarwood and essential oil producing company in South East Asia.

Habib was one of the four prominent personalities who received awards during the two-day recent North East Festival where several Union Ministers and Chief Minsters spoke.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma inaugurated the festival.

Laos Agar International Development Co. Ltd. is also the first foreign company to have a Joint venture with Nagaland Bio Resource Mission (Government of Nagaland) for doing business in Agarwood and related products and to setup a factory in Nagaland.

The factory was inaugurated by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in 2012. He also initiated the “One million Agarwood tree plantation program” where in they are reaching the farmers of the Lao PDR providing them free plant material for planting into their land with a buy back guarantee contract, thus creating employment opportunities for farmers of Laos and enhancing the livelihood.

Habib is also the founder and present President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in the Lao and he is the first Businessmen to promote India’s Look East Policy in Laos.

He organized and sponsored Business Forums, Exhibitions, Trade and Agricultural Expos and various National and International events in Laos and India.

In return Habib took and invited government and business delegations in both the countries for promoting friendship and strengthening the relations between both the countries. He sees the North East India and Laos very similar on cultural grounds having big potential for cultural and trade tie ups.

Speaking about export potential of Northeast, Habib said that out of total 254 billion dollar export volume the region has only 0.01 billion dollar share. Again only tea and coal comprise large part of this export while vast other resources are left unexploited, he added.

“My philosophy in life is “Exceeds Expectations” and “Power of Humanity” which shows two sides of his life,” Habib told journalists during the festival.

He has always exceeded everyone’s expectations through his business but besides building his business empire he is involved in various community services, he said.

Habib’s group has setup the JF Foundation (A Non-Religious Foundation) in India HSMM Foundation in Laos for helping the people of that country. His foundation has organized and supported various Charitable Events in the country for children education programs, flood relief, empowering farmers and helping other foundations.

The Group is also planning to build a 18 acre CBSE affiliated school in Hojai. The foundation stone was laid by the Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi last September.

Laos has also recognised Habib’s contributions and awarded the ‘Cross of Labour’ and the ‘Cross of friendship’ medals to him.

He is the first Indian entrepreneur to receive this award in 56 years of diplomatic relation between India and Laos.

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