SHILLONG, Apr 4: Chief Minister, Conrad Kongkal Sangma today said that in the quest of Meghalaya’s Act South Policy, keeping in mind Bangladesh which is the state’s neighbouring country, the state government was keen to derive economic benefit from such relations.
“While it is important for us to derive economic benefit, however, the major challenge is illegal immigration (from Bangladesh),” Conrad told media persons on Wednesday.
The Chief Minister while reacting on his suggestion to the Union government to introduce work permit Bangladeshi nationals said that while the state should not only leverage on its proximity with Bangladesh but also should make sure that the land is protected from illegal influx.
He pointed that in developed countries like United States of America, United Kingdom and Germany, the “work permit system” allows a citizens from another country to work in these nations but cannot have a say in their politics.
“They can earn a living there but they can’t vote,” Conrad said.
“It was on this background that discussion took place. We need to have a mechansim in place so that we can have trade with Bangladesh and at the same time protect our lands from illegal immigrants,” the Chief Minister added.
He also said that discussion with stakeholders on the benefits and disadvantage of the work permit system will continue.
It may be mentioned that during the Chief Minister’s meeting with Union External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday, Conrad proposed for issuing of work permit to Bangladeshi nationals to address the challenge of infiltration, to which the Union Minister said that it would be discussed and examined.
Conrad also said that Meghalaya can take advantage of its tourism potential since for tourists from Bangladesh the state is the nearest hill station.