SHILLONG, Jan 26: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma today said that the plan of his government for the overall development of the State in the short, medium and long-term.
“Our vision 2030 is to transform Meghalaya into a high-income Indian state and to improve the well-being of every single citizen of the State,” the Chief Minister said during his Republic Day speech.
Addressing the people of the state during the Republic Day celebrations held at Polo Grounds, Conrad said that his government’s vision has six core pillars – Human development, Primary sector rejuvenation, Infrastructure expansion, Entrepreneurship promotion, Environmental protection and Governance reform.He said that a lot of work has happened on each of these pillars in the last two years and that the government have a clear plan to move forward in the next three years.“We are building on our strengths and overcoming the challenges,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that one of the state’s greatest strengths is the youth.Conrad said that 75 percent of Meghalaya’s population is below the age of 34 and 37 percent is in the age group of 15-34 years.“We understand that this huge resource needs to be empowered with quality education and skills so as to realize their full potential. Accordingly, a lot of emphasis is being placed on secondary and higher education, on skill development and on entrepreneurship,” he added.
In the tourism sector, Conrad said that Meghalaya is blessed with diverse and unique natural and cultural endowments, which can be capitalised upon to make the State the most sought-after high-value tourism destination in the country.According to the Chief Minister tourism provides the opportunity to create meaningful jobs for youths in their own villages and towns.He also pointed out that good quality infrastructure needs to be created to promote high-value tourism.
The Chief Minister informed that log huts are planned to be constructed at Shnongpdeng and at the Nokrek biosphere reserve with support from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
He said that these infrastructures will be made into carbon neutral resorts.Log huts constructed at Umiam and Mawdiangdiang under Swadesh-1 scheme are ready to be operationalised.
“In order to promote ecotourism and adventure tourism, additional infrastructure at a cost of ₹ 85 crore are being set up under the Swadesh-2 scheme,” Conrad said.
He also informed that hiking tracks, eco-trails, public conveniences, wayside amenities and adventure sports infrastructures are being created at West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Garo Hills.
The Chief Minister also said that infrastructure of ₹ 32 crore will be created under the Prasad scheme at Sohra, Nartiang, Jowai and Charantola. Small scale village homestays and tourism amenities are being constructed by Tourism Cooperatives at the villages of Phlangwanbroi, Mawmluh, Laitiam, Mawten and Mendipathar.
According to Conrad another critical step for the promotion of high- value tourism is to start direct flights between Delhi and Shillong.
“We have initiated the process for this and I am hopeful that we can fly directly from Delhi to Umroi in the month of March this year. I am very optimistic that with all these interventions, tourism sector will finally reach its full potential in the State and become the true driver of growth,” the Chief Minister said.
Conrad also said that several initiatives are being taken up in the power sector.A significant one is the plan to install 1,80,000 smart electricity meters in the State.This includes establishment of fully functional modern smart meters based on Advanced Metering Infrastructure technology with real time connectivity to a central data centre.
“This will result in more efficient utilisation of power and reduce Aggregate Technical and Commercial losses. The Project is being funded by the Asian Development Bank and work is expected to start very soon,” Conrad said.
He also informed that the board of MeECL has recently approved the installation of another 1,00,000 smart meters on PPP mode.
“We are also strongly promoting renewable energy – a project for putting up solar panels in various Government buildings across the State at a cost of ₹ 15 crore is approved,” he said.