Chief Minister Conrad Sangma today said that the Look South Policy is important for Meghalaya and the country and added that if Act East Policy has to be really implemented in letter and spirit then it cannot be a generic policy.
Sangma said this while inaugurating the International Interdisciplinary Seminar on ‘Look South Policy vis-a-vis Meghalaya’ at Synod College here.
“There has to be within the North East a very regional based Act East Policy,” Sangma said adding, “Economic activity in the North East has its own challenges and requirements and opportunities”.
The Chief Minister also said that there is a need to have a sister-state relationship. “There is so much we can learn from other states and when we share the best practices and resources with each other the entire structure of the country will be strong,” he added.
He also mooted for a Presidential Retreat in the North East. “Having a Presidential Retreat in the North East would really send a very strong message of national integration,” he said.
Sangma also said that North East and West Bengal are just separated from each other by 80 kilometers through Bangladesh and if there is connectivity through Bangladesh it would be a second economic corridor for the entire North East cutting down on distance and travel time.
“The entire North East and the southern part of the North East will all be connected to this route. This will be the economic gateway for the North East in the long run and this is a huge game changer for us,” he added.
Sangma further added that such seminars are very important to build up the perception, leadership and trust to move forward.
“Building up the ecosystem with the right and positive mindset while we look at the challenges and problems we also look at the opportunities is the way forward,” he said.
The chief minister also informed that the State government is examining proposals to put up a conveyor belt system for products and minerals exported to Bangladesh.
“We strongly feel that this conveyor belt system will allow us to ensure that the products and the minerals that we send to Bangladesh are going to be properly monitored and we will be able to get the revenues out of it in a much more efficient manner,” he said.
He further said that there is a huge scope in agriculture by developing a good value chain system and creating an economic interdependence.
Sangma also added that there needs to be exchange programmes between students and entrepreneurs of Bangladesh and India. “It is very important to take entrepreneurs on board as they are the ones who will make things happen,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that the seminar will explore deliberations from resource persons, people working at the grass roots levels, paper presenters on a change in the monetary expansion not only through trade but in other aspects also.
The seminar will also examine the impediments and bottlenecks so that trade relations and people to people relations can be improved between the two nations.