SHILLONG, Nov 6: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma has urged the central government and the government of Bangladesh to fund the protection and preservation of Jaintiapur.
According to the Chief Minister, Jaintiapur holds great history for the people of the state.
“Our MLAs from Jaintia Hills in particular were very happy to visit Jaintiapur and we feel privileged to be the first Government delegation to visit the place from Meghalaya,” Conrad said.
It may be mentioned that on Tuesday, Conrad who undertook a 700-km road trip to Bangladesh dubbed “Connecting Borders” while leading a delegation of 20 members stopped at Jaintiapur – the erstwhile summer capital of the Jaintia kingdom.
The Indian delegation visited the one of the last remaining ruins of the Jaintia kingdom, which has been neglected by successive Bangladeshi Government.
According to the Chief Minister, it was a great moment to visit Jaintiapur where the remains of the former ruler were laid to rest.
“We have only read about Jaintiapur and the Khasi and Jaintia population that settled there and it was an honour to visit the place,” Conrad added.
He also said that someway the connection between the people of the two countries has weakened in the last many years.
The Chief Minister also said that the reason why his government decided to travel long distance by road is to connect with the people and feel what they feel and to be able to work collectively to figure out how we can take things forward.
Conrad pointred out that out of 10 billion dollars of the trade in Bangladesh, Meghalaya only contributed 0.7 percent of the trade with the country though the state shares 443 kms of border with the country.
“We share strong cultural and historical ties yet, we have not been able to figure out how we can improve things. There is definitely a gap that we have not been paying attention to and there are very low-hanging fruits and just basic connection between the individuals and the company facilitated by meetings like these can be the solution,” he added.
The Chief Minister also reassured that the Government of Meghalaya and the Government of India is serious about the relationship and the connection between India and Bangladesh.
“We see a great opportunity and we are here to ensure that we will create an environment and ecosystem where there is a win-win situation for both our countries,” he added.
On the tourism sector Conrad said that it is already moving forward.
He said that on Tuesday, while the delegation was crossing the border at the immigration gate in the Meghalaya border, they met quite a number of tourists from Bangladesh finishing their paperwork after their visit from nearby tourist locations in the state.
“There are small measures that needs to be taken for things to improve and this connection between tour operators, hoteliers and other stakeholders will ensure that we have traffic moving both ways and allow citizens of Sylhet to visit Meghalaya and vice versa,” Conrad said.
“With this, we can ensure that our connection is made, our relationship is built and that is how we can grow together,” he added.
The Chief Minister also said that during a meeting with meeting with the Chambers of Commerce at Sylhet, on Tuesday, a suggestion that came up was a connection between Sylhet and Shillong through bus or airway service in the near future.
“This will be considered through proper consultation with our central government,” he said.