President of India Droupadi Murmu ended her first official visit to Meghalaya today, travelling from Baljek Airport in West Garo to Mawphlang in East Khasi Hills via a stop to Raj Bhavan, Shillong.
Murmu, the first tribal to hold the post of head of state, suggested that Meghalaya and all the other states of the North East should work in mission mode to ensure connectivity, employment and infrastructure in view of the strategic location that the region holds as India’s gateway to South East Asia.
The President, who attended a civic reception hosted by the state government at Raj Bhavan, expressed happiness on inaugurating numerous development projects and hoped that the same will boost the economy of the state and bring about inclusive and holistic development.
Citing Meghalaya’s opportunities and potential for tourism-related activities, the President commended the various tourism related projects implemented by the state government. She opined that such initiatives will go a long way in creating awareness about the tourism potential of the state and the region as a whole.
She also lauded the natural beauty of Meghalaya and thanked the government and the people for the warm welcome accorded on her first visit as the President of India.
A state dinner and a cultural programme showcasing the unique traditions and customs of the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia tribes was also organised on the occasion.
Earlier, Murmu interacted with members of self-help groups at Baljek Airport, Tura, this morning, a day after she inaugurated the 5th Meghalaya Games. She also virtually laid the foundation stone for the new Integrated Administration Complex, Tura.
Addressing the gathering, the President said that the empowerment of women in social, economic, political and spiritual spheres is essential for the country to realise its vision of becoming a developed nation by 2047. She underlined that India’s women are making a mark and paving way for other women in every field whether it is defence, science and technology, sports, education, entrepreneurship, agriculture, or any other field.
The President said that the idea of women-led-development can be implemented only when the women get the freedom to make their choices. With economic independence, this has become a reality to some extent. Economic self-reliance brings a greater self-confidence in women.
Later, Murmu was welcomed with loud cheers upon arrival at the Mawphlang Sacred Grove to attend a public programme.
The President virtually inaugurated several projects – the upgradation/improvement of Rongjeng-Mangsang-Adokgre Road, the upgradation of Mairang-Ranigodown-Azra Road, Shillong Peak Ropeway Project and village accommodation in Kongthong, Mawlyngkot and Kudengrim.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, Deputy CMs Prestone Tynsong and Sniawbahlang Dhar, Tourism Minister Paul Lyngdoh, Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh and other cabinet ministers were present on the occasion. Murmu also visited the Khasi Heritage Village located at Mawphlang and was given a brief explanation about facets of the Khasi culture.
Addressing the gathering, Murmu commended Meghalaya’s dedicated efforts in preserving forests and their surroundings. Expressing confidence in the potential impact of the inaugurated projects, she emphasised their role in propelling the state toward sustainable and inclusive development. She positioned Meghalaya as an ideal case study for the harmonious relationship between humans and nature.
The event witnessed a large number of women and students in attendance who were eagerly waiting for the head of state just to get a glimpse of her.