Meghalaya joined the rest of India in celebrating the 71st Republic Day celebration today at Polo Grounds, Shillong. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma unfurled the Tri-colour and took salute of the parade.
Addressing the gathering, he said that entrepreneurship will be the key driver of growth and employment in the coming years for the State.
He said that the State Government is working tirelessly to achieve excellence in governance, quality education, economic and social upliftment and other infrastructural work.
A colourful display of tableaus by different Government departments, cultural dance and songs marked the celebration.
The Chief Minister also distributed the Meghalaya Day awards to the winners. The Republic Day celebrations were also held in different district headquarters.
Boulder trucks from Bhutan carrying loads for export from their country to neighbouring Bangladesh have been dominating the state highways of Garo Hills. The trucks exporting goods through SAARC related trade agreement have turned a ‘blind eye’ with absolutely no regards to the laws and regulation implemented by the country.
The Government of Meghalaya hosted the Meghalaya Entrepreneurship & Start Up Summit on Tuesday, to create a dynamic and collaborative ecosystem for entrepreneurship support and development in Meghalaya through PRIME (Promotion of Innovative and Market Driven Enterprises).
The programme was organized by the Planning Department, Government of Meghalaya implemented by the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE), Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA) and Indian Institute of Technology- Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP).
The Summit witnessed the launch of PRIME Programme, Honouring of Meghalaya Chief Minister’s E-Champions (Top 100 Entrepreneurs), Unveiling the state’s Entrepreneurship Promotion Strategy and Inauguration of Meghalaya’s first ever incubation hubs, the “PRIME” hub, for state entrepreneurs which will provide handholding, mentoring and incubation support to start ups and persons with innovative business ideas in order for them to upscale their business.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, while addressing the programme said, “Our officials are a store house of talent and ideas and in order to tap this, we will soon launch an open challenge for the government officials in the state for them to come up with innovative ideas to existing issues and problems in the state”.
He also stated that a monthly award on the lines of ‘entrepreneur of the month award’ will be launched for outstanding musicians and sportspersons from the state in order to keep them motivated while also creating a strong base for the fostering of music & entertainment industry in the state. The same is set to be implemented from the financial year 2020.
The Chief Minister also stressed on the need to focus on music incubation centres given the fact that the state has a huge talent pool of musicians and artists whose talents remain untapped.
CEO of NITI Ayog, Amitabh Kanth said that Meghalaya has a huge potential in 4 main sectors and the same needs to be tapped at the earliest to provide a boost to the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the state.
He said, “Meghalaya has a huge potential in agricultural and horticultural sector, it can be a centre of high value added tourism and tinkering labs”.
While addressing the Top 100 Entrepreneurs selected through the Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge 2019, Amitabh Kanth also stated that the NITI Ayog would soon initiate a meeting of state entrepreneurs with India’s young and successful startups to enable idea sharing and networking which are the key drivers of entrepreneurship culture.
Out of the Top 50, the Top 25 entrepreneurs were felicitated by the Chief Minister with a cash prize of Rs. 1 Lakh (cheque), a certificate as well as a memento. The remaining 25 were felicitated with a cash prize of Rs. 50 thousand (cheque), a certificate as well as a memento. The rest of the Top 50 were awarded with a certificate and they have secured a place at the PRIME hub centre in Shillong and Tura for a period of one year.
The summit hosted an Award Ceremony cum entertainment evening with performances by Lamphang Syiemlieh, Megha Warriors, Rikune/ Snap Paka, fashion show, among others. A fashion show was also presented with local fashion designers from the state.
It may be mentioned that the summit was a culmination of the Chief Minister’s E-Champion Challenge Programme 2019 that was launched in August 14, 2019 by the Chief Minister with the objective of identifying and encouraging potential entrepreneurs from across the state.
The issue revolving around the transportation of coal in Garo Hills region of Meghalaya took a new turn with many of the writ petitions filed in the High Court being reportedly withdrawn, forcing a social activist to file a complaint against the said petitioners with the deputy commissioner of South Garo Hills alleging them of filing cases for their self interest.
Social activist, Nilberth Ch Marak wrote in his complaint letter that many WPs were filed in the HC which was admitted by the Court and transport was stopped. “However, without any rhyme or reason, the WPs were withdrawn by the petitioners without citing any reason. Later it was learned from sources that the petitioners were not genuine and were working at the behest of some vested interests to stop transport for the genuine bidders,” said Marak in his complaint.
The complaint by Marak relates to the recent auction of coal from various locations in SGH held on Dec 14 as per the direction of the DC of the district. The SC had allowed the state to auction coal which had not been declared within the 32 lakh MT lying within the state, which is to be auctioned through CIL.
The auction of the coal had thereby taken place on the above mentioned date. However, immediately after the auction was completed, trouble started for those that had made the winning bid with various writ petitions being filed by various individuals questioning the auction or to stop transport of the auctioned coal.
Marak alleged this was done by the petitioners for monetary benefits and to gratify their bid for money.
Meanwhile, while other WPs were withdrawn, one person, Pillarson D Sangma filed another WP seeking a stay on transportation following which in Jan 15, the HC stayed transportation of auctioned coal until Jan 30, the next date of hearing.
Marak alleged that Pillarson was hired by one person of Williamnagar whose motive he said was to black mail the successful bidders, namely Jia Sangma, Georgeman Marak and Prokash Sangma.
“Even I was approached to put my signature of the proxy WP on their behalf which I refused to do as I have the deepest respect for the Constitution and the laws of the country. The Court is an institution to deliver justice not an instrument to black mail. No one should approach the Court to satisfy their greed for money and do business,” said Marak.
The activist further sought an investigation into the matter seeking to know who filed WPs with genuine thoughts and those that withdrew. He further sought the findings to be submitted to the law department of the advocate general for follow up action.
Marak stated that the petitioners need to also be investigated upon whether they are financially sound to be able to deposit 10% of the bid amount as well as 50% within 24 hours of bidding success. He also sought an investigation into the fact that whether the people that filed WPs had done so on their own accord or had some vested people behind them.
“We are really concerned that the Court is being misused,” felt the social activist.
The MDCs of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) today met Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma to impress upon him the need to request the Governor designate, R.N. Ravi to convene a special session for the trial strength.
“We have got the majority with the support of the 16 MDCs to form the new Executive Committee in the KHADC. We would like to request the Governor through the State Government to convene the special session for the trial of strength,” former KHADC CEM and leader of the UDA, Teinwell Dkhar told reporters after meeting Chief Minister at his official residence today.
He further said that there is a need to install a new Executive Committee at the earliest for the overall interest of the Council.
To a question that they would require the signature of the 20 MDCs to convene the special session, UDP MDC and member of the UDA, Titosstarwell Chyne said that it is not necessary since there are other prescribed rules to convene the special session.
“Yes, the signatory of the 20 MDCs is one of the options to convene the special session. But there are other options available to convene the session. We are asking to convene the session since at present there is no EC in the Council,” Chyne said.
Former Deputy CEM and member of the UDA, Pyniaid Sing Syiem recalled that they had dislodged PN Syiem and install HS Shylla as the CEM with the support of 16 MDCs in the House of 29 in 2018.
“We are looking at a similar situation this time round,” Syiem said.
It may be recalled that the NPP led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) had maintained that they will prefer the imposition of Administrator’s Rule (AR) in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) even after the United Democratic Alliance or UDA has regained majority in the Council.
“Our stand is very clear that AR should be imposed in the KHADC whatever may be the case. We know there is change in the political equation in the Council. But the Government cannot tolerate the irresponsibility of the MDCs by changing sides from one group to another just to suit their political interest,” Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong had stated.
According to him, the decision to impose AR was taken in the best interest of the Council.
“The Governor should take over the administration of the Council till such time when the Government feels that the situation is back to normal,” Deputy Chief Minister had stated.
At present, in the House of 29, the United Democratic Alliance has the support of 16 MDCs with the recent joining of independent MDC from Nongshken constituency, Grace Mary Kharpuri and Congress MDC from Mairang-Nongkhlaw, Batskhem Ryntathiang to the alliance.
The strength of United Democratic Front (UDF) had been reduced to 12 minus the chairman of the Council. It may be mentioned that this is the second time that the State Government recommended for imposition of Administrator Rule’s in the KHADC.