The Chief Minister of Meghalaya urged Mr Modi to have Presidential Retreat in Shillong

Shillong, June 17: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, who is in Delhi, met the Prime Minister with cabinet colleagues AL Hek, Banteidor Lyngdoh, Samlin Malgniang and Tura Lok Sabha MP Agatha K. Sangma. During the meeting the following where discussed.
Niti Aayog is working in close tandem with Central Government to devise strategies and policies for welfare and development initiatives, the Chief Minister suggested to the PM that States should also be allowed to work in close association with Niti Aayog.

The Chief Minister also mooted an idea on the “Sister State” relationship, wherein two Indian States collaborate for exchange of culture, business and trade relationship.

He said that if all Indian States have such Sister State relationship, it would enable learning and exchange of different strengths and potentials, which would further strengthen the growth and development initiatives in the country.

Citing an example of Meghalaya – Maharashtra Sister State relationship, the Chief Minister said, “Meghalaya and Maharashtra can have close association in the field of Bollywood, Music, Cultural Exchange Programme, as well as have collaboration for research, entrepreneurship and explore potential of organic products from Meghalaya to Mumbai, where demand for organic food is very high”.

Currently, there are two Presidential Retreat in India, The Retreat Building in Shimla and the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad, which are indicative of the integrative role of the Office of the President of India in our country. These locations, one in North and another in South, symbolise unity of our country and unity of our diverse cultures and people.

The Chief Minister suggested establishment of Presidential Retreat in Northeast, preferably in Shillong, which is the historical capital of Northeast India.

The Chief Minister told the Prime Minister that Presidential Retreat in Shillong, where the President would spend at least two weeks in a year, would send a very strong message of inclusiveness and a strong message of importance towards Northeast being accorded by the Central Government.

Northeast is endowed with huge untapped natural resources and is acknowledged as the gate way for the country’s “Act East Policy”. The NER States, while unique in most respects, have similar economic and geographical attributes that merits special policy interventions. The Chief Minister said that NER accounts for merely 1 per cent export because of several constraints.

The nearest port in Kolkata is 1000 km from Guwahati, Assam however, if accessibility is accorded to Chittagong port in Bangladesh, which would be roughly about 600 km from Guwahati, via Shillong and Dawki, it would benefit the region and the potential of export will significantly go up in the long run.

The Chief Minister suggested eight lane highways between Guwahati and Chittagong to facilitate promotion of trade and business in Northeast India.

Pointing out that the key constraint to the growth has been poor infrastructure and limited connectivity, both within the region as well as with the rest of the country.

The Chief Minister pointed that if there is any situation in the narrow stretch of land inBengal, termed as the “Chicken Neck”, the communication between Northeast would be disconnected altogether.

He also suggested for an alternative road between Hili in Bengal and Mahendraganj in Meghalaya via Bangladesh, which is merely 110 km and would facilitate in road communication, trade and business.

He said that a parallel road between India and Bangladesh would also ensure back up for national security and trade aspect would be faster. He urged the Prime Minister to take up the matter with his Bangladesh counterpart.

The Chief Minister informed the Prime Minister on 1917 (toll free number) iTeams, which has been established to help the farmers in Meghalaya through an e and telephone, based integrated management system.

He said that 1917 is a historic year for the country due to the Champaran Satyagraha started by Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi ji, this year is 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi ji and the Chief Minister told PM that it would be apt to start iTeams initiated by the Government of Meghalaya in rest of the country to help the farmers.

The objective of 1917 iTeams are – buyers and sellers are connected, it acts as an advisory on farm related issues, it help farmers with regards to transportation of their goods and provides other technical support.

The Chief Minister said that through the system, the farmers are connected to local truck owners, which also facilitates local entrepreneurship. “Prime Minister has liked the idea and has assured to replicate the initiative started by the Government of Meghalaya,” the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister apprised PM that Meghalaya is close to coming up with Water Policy with the objective to ensure conservation, rain water harvest, purification, river rejuvenation, etc. “The Prime Minister has liked the idea and has asked me to discuss the matter with Jal Shakti Ministry, I have discussed the matter with the Ministry and they have liked the idea too, the Ministry is now proposing the idea for all other States to replicate.”

The Chief Minister also apprised PM on the upcoming National Games to be held in Meghalaya in 2022 and said that it is a historic year for the country as we will celebrate 75th years of Independence and 50 year of Statehood.  The Chief Minister urged for PM full support for hosting of National Games.

The inclusion of Khasi and Garo language in the 8th schedule was also discussed by the cabinet colleagues who met the PM in presence of Tura Lok Sabha MP Agatha K. Sangma.


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