Northeast needs special dispensation to overcome challenges

SHILLONG, Jan 22: Meghalaya opposition leader and senior Congress member Dr Mukul Sangma has said that the centre needs to understand the fact that northeastern region being a landlocked region has been handicapped.

“We are not being able to grow economically. The union government should understand that the northeast is different and needs to be treated in a different way,” Dr Sangma said after a meeting of the manifesto consultative committee held in the city on Tuesday.

According to the former Chief Minister, when the UPA was in power at the centre, it had a special dispensation to overcome the challenges to a certain extent to keep pace with other states of the country.

The opposition leader said that the centre treats a village lying in the border as remote when it can be the window to the neighbouring country.

Commenting on the manifesto of the Congress for the 2019 Lok Sabha election which is slated for this year, Dr Sangma also stated that it will reflect the aspiration and expectation of the people of the region.

“We will compile them through exhaustive consultation,” he said.

The opposition leader also said that the Congress will try and fulfill the promises that will be in the manifesto unlike other political parties who made promises but did not deliver.

“Congress doesn’t make promises that we do not intend to fulfill,” Dr Sangma said.

He pointed out that the BJP in Meghalaya in its manifesto promised that it will work on lifting the ban on coal mining within six months of coming to power. The BJP now is a partner in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) coalition.

Similarly, the opposition leader pointed out that before the 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP had made promises to bring back black money and depositing Rs 15 lakh in the bank accounts of the citizens of the country.

Dr Sangma said that these promises were made just to get votes.

Meanwhile, on the inter-state border dispute with Assam, Dr Sangma alleged that the then opposition parties in Assam like the AGP and the BJP did not want the border dispute to be solved.

It may be mentioned that on March 16, 2011 the Meghalaya Assembly passed a resolution that the Centre needs to constitute a commission to settle the inter-state boundary dispute on the basis of historical, ethnic and linguistic linkages.

However the Assam Assembly, on December 19, 2011, passed a counter-resolution, opposing any move on the part of the Centre to form the commission to settle the issue.
Dr Sangma said that his government then was able to unite all the political parties of the state on the inter-state border dispute.
“When we were in government we reached out to other political parties and adopted resolution in the Assembly and took everyone on board. If this issue has to be resolved it should be with the involvement of all the political parties,” Dr Sangma said.

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