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Mukul pledges to ‘deliver’

By Our Reporter

Untitled-2 copySHILLONG: Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma has assured that his Government would take all possible steps to ensure that the various promises made in the Congress manifestoes are fulfilled.

“I have already circulated the manifestoes to my officers so that they plan the budget as per the commitments given by the party. We would start to work towards achieving our goals from the very beginning,” Dr Sangma said while addressing newsmen hours after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister for a second term on Tuesday.

He said that the Government would also require to be responsive and effective to fulfill the various promises.

The Chief Minister reiterated his party’s commitment to create 10,000 jobs in the Government sector in the coming five years and another 1 lakh jobs in the non Government sector.

“We understand that it would be very difficult to create jobs in the Government sector. We would try to find out ways and means to get the requisite funds to be able to create new jobs in the Government sector,” he said, while adding that unemployment of the youths posed a major challenge. “We have spent years but failed to create opportunities for our talented young men and women. We need to therefore upscale the skill and knowledge of our youth and make them more capable to compete,” the Chief Minister said.

Dr Sangma said that the main focus of the government would be to ensure sustained and inclusive growth by addressing the issues of backwardness and poverty through people-centric schemes.

“The Government would also be looking towards partnership building, entrepreneurship development, up scaling investment in social sectors and by leveraging upon the vast human and natural resources,” Dr Sangma said.

“We have promised to embark upon new initiatives to accelerate development in all spheres with a special focus on the poor and the under-privileged, old and needy, women and children, small and marginal farmers and the BPL workers,” he said, while committing to bring about a change for a better life for every citizen of the State.

He said that his Government would give special attention to Education, Health, Culture, Sports and Tourism sectors which will open up unlimited opportunities for each and every section of the society in Meghalaya.

“Our commitment to livelihood security will be achievable by up scaling investment in the rural sector to make farming more remunerative and attractive through technological intervention and knowledge transfer,” he said.

Emphasizing on the need to give due importance to women, Dr Sangma said that the financial inclusion scheme for women launched by the government earlier was only a start.

“It will be one of my top priorities in this term to ensure an environment for women which is safe and supportive for them to realize their dreams and aspirations. Also, the old and the infirm, the widows and the differently-abled, all will find a special space in our road to advancement,” the Chief Minister said.

“Such an environment is not possible without peace and harmony. Peace is not simply about law and order or the absence of crime. Tackling militancy requires building trust between communities and groups and a responsive and accountable government,” he stated.

We will also need to ensure that our physical infrastructure keep pace with our ambitions and our changing life style. We will, therefore, focus on completion of the large number of roads, rail, waterways, power, tourism and other infrastructure projects on which work has already begun,” Dr Sangma said, adding, “New projects are already being planned and these are urgently needed while it is important to rapidly finish what we have begun.”

“Improvements in infrastructure will attract more investments and industries, but we will be cautious that we promote industrialization with a minimal environmental footprint and with maximum benefits to our people,” he said.

Pledging to fight corruption, Dr Sangma said the party manifesto has promised a Public Service Delivery Act to fight against the menace.

“We will combine this with a new law for social audits. As I see it, such social audit should be concurrent and not something which functions only as a post mortem,” he said, adding that greater transparency is one safeguard against corruption.

He also assured that the government would not be found wanting in taking punitive action against offenders at all levels.

He appealed to the political parties and the various NGOs to shake off their prejudices and animosity and work together with the government for the greater good of the State.

Peace initiatives

Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said that the Government would take a call on how to go about with the peace process with other militant outfits in the State following signing of the peace settlement with the ANVC.

“The main focus of the Government at present is the peace agreement with the ANVC. The Cabinet has already approved the modalities of the peace settlement. I would be pursuing with the Centre to speed up the matter,” Dr Sangma said when asked if the Government is going to invite the HNLC for dialogue, in the wake of the offer from former HNLC chairman and Mawhati legislator Julius K Dorphang (Independent) to act as mediator.

According to Mukul, a tripartite ceasefire agreement was entered between the Centre, state government and the ANVC in July 2004.

“It was after a long and extensive exercise that the government has arrived into a settlement with the ANVC,” he said, adding that this has been possible because of the Government’s sincere commitment to eradicate militancy.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister insisted that all should respect the people’s mandate in electing Dorphang as an elected representative.

“He (Dorphang) continues to remain an elected MLA as long as the court does not bar him from contesting the election,” Dr Sangma said.

Border dispute

On the vexed border issue with Assam, the Chief Minister said that his Government would give top priority to solve the long-pending problem in an amicable manner.

“I recently happened to meet Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. The Assam Government is serious about resolving this long-pending issue,” Dr Sangma said.

He, however, said that this issue can be resolved only if there is an active involvement of all the political parties and stake holders.

“Even if we arrive at an acceptable solution, it is important that all the political parties and stakeholders back such a decision,” the Chief Minister said.

Dr Sangma also stated that the State Government would continue to pursue with the Centre on the need to open more border haats along the international border with Bangladesh.

“We are also contemplating to address the issue of influx in the State with a more effective system of policing. A comprehensive and institutionalized mechanism, with the involvement of all stakeholders, shall be put in place to address this issue,” he said, while adding that the Central forces guarding the borders would be strengthened.

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