SHILLONG, May 4: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma today said that there were challenges in implementation of Act East Policy and continuous engagement with other North Eastern States and Centre is required to take the Act East Policy forward, which would boost trade and cultural relations with Asia – Pacific countries.
Speaking at an interactive session chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and attended by Chief Ministers of eight Northeastern States, Meghalaya Chief Minister pushed the idea of state level planning and action to chart out road map for effective implementation of Act East Policy.
“Though North East has been clubbed as one region. However, every policy will not suit each other. Hence, a suitable approach was required, which can be arrived at with State level consultation and combined consultation amongst States which shares border with its neigbouring South Asian countries”, the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister said that the engagement with External Affairs Minister and his counterpart was fruitful as they were able to come together and bring forward their ideas on how to move forward in the implementation of the ambitious Act East Policy.
During the interactive session, Conrad urged the Central Government to enhance road connectivity in North East with four-lane route amongst all the eight States of the region as well as with the neigbouring countries.
“If road and air connectivity is improved, trade and commerce would increase, which will in turn boost the socio-economic condition of our people. Livelihood opportunities will be created and our youth would be encouraged to take up entrepreneurial activities”, the Chief Minister added.
Talking about upgrading of Land Customs Stations (LCS) in Meghalaya, the Chief Minister suggested that if the LCS in the State were equipped with better infrastructure, it would facilitate export of products to the neigbouring nations, which will help the farmers of the State, who are largely dependent on agriculture and allied sectors.
The Chief Minister also urged the centre to provide adequate attention to build better infrastructure and logistic to facilitate storage of agriculture and other allied products including setting up of warehouse in Meghalaya and other parts of the region.
“I have urged the Centre to convene more such meetings at Regional and State level that would enable the North Eastern States to understand each other and come up with appropriate action plans for effective implementation of Act East Policy”, the Chief Minister informed.
Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, and Tripura respectively took part in the session.
Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog and Gen (Dr) VK Singh (Retd), Minister of State for External Affairs, Foreign Secretary, Secretary (East) from the Ministry of External Affairs as well as Secretaries from the Ministry of DoNER, Tourism and North Eastern Council also participate in the discussions.