Shillong, Nov 5 : Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Tuesday left for Bangladesh to explore potential of economic growth between the two regions.
“The purpose of the visit is to deepen the relationships across many sectors and to build networks that are mutually beneficial,” Sangma, who is leading 20-member
delegation, said. The delegation also comprises of Cabinet Ministers Banteidor Lyngdoh, Sniawbhalang Dhar and Lahkmen Rymbui besides, senior officials, entrepreneurs and tour operators.
“Meghalaya aspires to be a prosperous state by 2030. To achieve this goal, the state government has put together a clear strategy that capitalizes on our core strengths while developing new capabilities for growth and development. Bangladesh is an important partner in our development journey,” Sangma said.
Sangma is scheduled to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, entrepreneurs and various stakeholders. He will also interact with Bangladeshi students.
“India and Bangladesh have an annual trade of $10 billion, but out of this total, Meghalaya contribute only .7 per cent despite sharing 443 km long border with Bangladesh. Therefore, the idea of this trip is to further improve our ties with Bangladesh,” the Chief Minister said. Sangma said the government is planning to increase the number of ‘border haats’ (open markets) between Meghalaya and Bangladesh. He said the delegation will meet farmers, entrepreneurs, students, tour operators and find out how we could take advantage of these opportunities in terms of agriculture, horticulture, power, tourism and many other sectors where we can have strong collaboration with them.
Sangma said that he is planning to discuss ways of developing Shillong as a tourist hub as it is the nearest hill station to Bangladesh. “Meghalaya government aims to double the tourist footfalls from Bangladesh in the next two years by strengthening cooperation with tour operators of Meghalaya and Bangladesh and developing new historic circuits,”Sangma said. He also said the government aims to increase exports of niche agricultural and horticultural products to neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh.
Stating that Power Sector is another opportunity, Sangma said, Currently, Meghalaya has been able to tap only 10 per cent of the 3400 MW hydropower potential. “The government plan is to significantly increase this capacity by 2022 with the advent of six new medium and large hydro-power projects. Bangladesh is an important potential market for power from Meghalaya,” he said Sangma said that educational institutions of Shillong can be a transformative opportunity for a young country like Bangladesh which has nearly 30 percent of their population in the 10-24 age group. (UNI)