Meghalaya has to thank its previous Chief Ministers and leaders for the last 50 years of progress but Chief Minister Conrad Sangma also took plenty of credit for his own Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government in his Republic Day speech yesterday.
Instead of being cowed by the challenges the state faced when he came to power in 2018, Sangma said that the government, instead, was inspired by it. I remember in 2018 when we took over the government, we had huge challenges. We had a lot of problems with law and order, militancy. We had a situation where mothers were giving birth to children without any professional help; 50 per cent of mothers were giving birth to their children on their own, in their homes, the CM said, adding that other issues included low child immunisation rates, low numbers of self-help group participants and overdue government projects.
By taking on these challenges and by ensuring transparency and keeping people first, Sangma said that all of these issues have seen positive outcomes over the last four years.
Some of the success stories he drew attention to was the increase in institutional deliveries by pregnant mothers from 35 per cent up to 85 per cent, a 90 per cent reduction in severe childhood malnutrition, a 10 times jump in SHG recruitment, from 30,000 to 3.5 lakh, rapid provision of piped water to Meghalaya households, increase in flights to and from Umroi Airport, the creation of a new IT park that will bring jobs to the youth, construction of a new Assembly building two decades after the old one burnt down and resolution of the border dispute with Assam that has run for the last 50 years.
He described the ban on rat-hole coal mining in 2014 as not fair to the people". India being a country in transition, should be allowed to extract and burn coal for its energy needs and Sangma said he is proud that his government managed to get the go ahead for scientific mining of coal in Meghalaya by the central authorities.