‘Links with Chittagong port, border areas must for economic growth’

BARIDUA (Ri Bhoi): Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has reiterated the need for connectivity with Chittagong port and other border areas to pave way for an economic boom in the state.
“I have always advocated the creation of linking Chittagong port directly from Guwahati via Shillong, Dawki and Sylhet, which would be hardly 700km compared to 1500km going down to Kolkata. Besides, connecting Mahendraganj which is located on the tip of Meghalaya to Hili in West Bengal (100km away) also saves more than 700km and opens up three to four corridfors, Sangma said during his address at the 4th convocation of USTM here on Saturday.
“Such connectivity can bring in an economic boom, which would be significant for Meghalaya,” he said.
Referring to the Centre’s Act East policy, Sangma said there is a huge hidden treasure in the Northeast to be tapped. “Before Independence, when the region was one, its per capita was the highest in the country. It is only when we started having geographical borders and subsequently trade was restricted that the economy started going down,” the chief minister said.
Underlining the role of entrepreneurship, he urged budding entrepreneurs in the state to seize the opportunities that exist in the state and take calculated risks.
“I am firm believer of entrepreneurship. Government should be limited to policy making and a catalyst to allow entrepreneurs to grow. You look at developed countries, it is the entrepreneurs who drive the economy,” Sangma said.
He further said that the creation of policies and infrastructure coupled with networking could usher in more opportunities.
The chief minister also urged researchers and policy makers to focus on the strengths of the state such as the availability of natural fibre and bamboo, which are imported in huge amounts from other countries.

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