Unified approach needed to tackle issues of NE: Conrad 

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‘Chittagong port a boon for the Northeast’

HT Bureau

SHILLONG, Oct 27: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Saturday stressed on the need for a collective effort from all stakeholders to tackle the issues concerning the Northeastern states of India in order to put the region in the pedestal of growth and development.

“Though we come from diverse backgrounds when it comes to issues concerning our region we must all take a unified approach”, the chief minister said while addressing the 6th edition of the ‘Young Leaders Connect’ here.

Terming entrepreneurship as the key to the economic progress of the region, Sangma spoke at length about the various initiatives of the Meghalaya Government to support the innovative entrepreneurs of the state.

Sangma hailed the decision to open the Chittagong port in Bangladesh to facilitate trade with India’s Northeast.

Sangma said the decision will boost trade in the region and Meghalaya in particular, which shares a very long international border with Bangladesh.

This is a big step towards ensuring that we, in the Northeast, have port connectivity and accessibility, Sangma said.

“It will reduce transportation cost for goods and allow exposure for the northeastern states to the international markets, he said.

The Bangladesh government had earlier this month approved a draft agreement to allow northeastern states of India to use Chittagong sea port and Mongla river ports, primarily aimed at restoring pre-partition logistics for the entire northeast region.

Sangma also said that increase of trade between India, Bangladesh and Myanmar is crucial for the economic development of Meghalaya.

The state shares a 443-km long International border with Bangladesh and recently the Meghalaya government has said it will write to the Centre to facilitate setting up of more import/export points along the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Speaking of his recent visit to France to attend the Salon International de Agroalimentaire, the world’s largest food innovation exhibition, Sangma also highlighted the potential of the Northeastern region to develop food processing industries.

Addressing the gathering, Assam MP Gaurav Gogoi stressed on the need to connect, share and emulate the best practices to fuel innovation and creativity among the youth.

Naveen Verma, secretary, ministry of development of North Eastern Region, spoke on the need for greater cooperation among the states in order create a conducive atmosphere to achieve goals and objectives beneficial to the region in a speedy manner.

The opening address was delivered by Bhaichung Bhutia, Chair YLC, who apprised the gathering that the YLC was started in 2011 with an “idea to bring all the young achievers of the North East under one platform”.

Others who spoke at the inaugural session were Hekani Jakhalu, Chair YLC, Governing Council, YouthNet, and Larsing Ming Sawyan, managing director, Centre Point Group of enterprise and Co-Chair of the YLC-6.

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