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SHILLONG | August 15, 2019:

Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma informed that the value of all mineral resources of the State is about 180 billion US Dollars.

““The state has about 576 million tonnes of coal deposits and about 9,300 million tonnes of limestone deposits. The government is now putting in place systems for sustainable mining so that the present and future generation can reap the benefits of these important resources,” Sangma said while speaking at an official function to celebrate the 73 Independence Day at Polo Ground here today.

Terming the lifting of the ban on coal mining by the Supreme Court is a big victory for the people of the state, he observed that perhaps for the first time anywhere in the country, the Government argued for protection of Tribal rights, the unique culture and identity of the people before the highest court of the land.

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He further said that this judgement will certainly have a positive impact on the economy of the State and will lead to revival of the coal mining areas.

HEALTH

Informing that Maternal and Child Health indicators like Infant Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality rate is not satisfactory, he said that the Infant Mortality Rate in the State is 39 deaths per 1000 livebirths while the Maternal Mortality rate is 197 deaths per 100,000 livebirths.

“My goal is to reduce these numbers dramatically in the next 2-3 years. To achieve this, we have successfully piloted a new initiative that uses real time data on the pregnant women to monitor their health status on a continuous basis. Under this data driven model, primary data on pregnant women is collected by the Medical Officers and Health functionaries through a mobile app,” Sangma informed.

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He said that the second key constraint in health care provision is lack of adequate infrastructure and human resources. “We only have 436 government doctors in the entire State. Like in the education sector, we need more private sector and civil society participation to improve this State of affairs. Currently about 22 health institutions are being managed in a PPP mode. The government intends to expand this engagement,” he said.

COMMUNITY AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

He further informed that the State government has placed special emphasis on the effective implementation of poverty alleviation programmes.

Informing that  Meghalaya is today one of the top implementers of MGNREGS in the country, he informed that Meghalaya have spent about ₹ 1000 crore on MGNREGS in the last financial year generating an average of 72 person days of wage employment for all registered job-card holders in the State.

AGRICULTURE/HORTICULTURE

Meghalaya Chief Minister said that the State Government had launched a number of missions to improve the production and productivity in the horticulture sector.

“Recently the Market Lead of Amazon, USA, visited the Turmeric farms of Shangpung areas and discussed the possibilities for bulk procurement of turmeric for the US markets. Another San Francisco based spice company has also expressed desire to source turmeric directly from the farmers. After the launch of the Jackfruit Mission, a local company was approached by buyers in Singapore for the supply of 200 metric tons of raw jackfruit,” Sangma said.

TOURISM

Meanwhile, he said that the government wants to strongly promote village tourism so that money goes directly into the rural areas.

“We have many villages in the State that have unique selling points. Cases in point are the Jingrwai Iawbei tradition of Kongthong village in Khatar shnong and the Hoolock Gibbons of the Nokrek biosphere reserve. The distinct cultural and bio-diversity richness of our villages can be marketed in a sustainable way,” Meghalaya Chief Minister said.

Informing that they have set up a Skill Challenge Fund under the ADB funded Project-‘Supporting Human Capital Development in Meghalaya’, he said that they are  targeting to train about 50,000 youth by 2020 under the various programs of the Government.

SPORTS

Meanwhile, he said that Meghalaya will be hosting the 39th National games in 2022, which is the 50th year of our Statehood and the 75th year of India’s independence. “Our mission is to use the National Games as a platform for creating a brand-new sports culture in the State and to put Meghalaya strongly on the sports map of India.The Government is committed to hosting a spectacular National game in 2022,” Chief Minister said adding that they will be organising the Meghalaya Games in November this year as the State starts preparing for the National Games.

INFRASTRUCTURE

He informed that a key initiative in the infrastructure sector is the Meghalaya Integrated Transport Project, an Externally Aided Project being implemented with support from the World Bank.

“The total project cost is about ₹.1050 crore, which will be spent over a five-year period,” Sangma said.

He further said that another key infrastructure sector is border infrastructure given our 443 kilometers of International border with Bangladesh. “The approximate value of our exports to Bangladesh is around ₹ 600 Crore and the total imports is around ₹ 30 Crore. There is immense potential for improvement in trade and tourism related activities with Bangladesh,” Meghalaya Chief Minister said.

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Sangma unfurled the National Flag and took the Rashtriya Salute of 26 Parade Contingents of  58GTC, BSF, CRPF, MLP, SF10, Horse contingent of Assam Rifles Higher Secondary School and combined brass and pipe bands of Border Wing Home Guards, BSF and Assam Rifles.

The Chief Minister also distributed trophies to the winners of March Past who took part in the Independence Day celebration to Pine Mount School, Loreto Convent School and St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School who bagged the first, second and third prize respectively.

On the occasion a Coffee Table Book titled “Meghalaya Close to the Heart” on Dance Music and Musical Instruments of Meghalaya was also released by the Chief Minister.

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