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Meghalaya makes development towards permanent resolution to boundary dispute with Assam: Guv Chauhan

He said the regional committees headed by cabinet ministers from both states have made field visits and held public hearings and discussions with stakeholders for these six areas. 

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Shillong: The Meghalaya government has made significant developments towards finding a permanent resolution to the boundary dispute with Assam, Governor Phagu Chauhan said on Monday. 

Addressing the first day of the budget session of the Assembly in Hindi, Chauhan said the two states after several meetings agreed to first take up six areas of differences i.e, Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillangkata and Ratacheera.

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He said the regional committees headed by cabinet ministers from both states have made field visits and held public hearings and discussions with stakeholders for these six areas. 

“Based on the report of these committees that were submitted to the government a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Meghalaya and Assam governments in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah,” the Governor informed the members of the House.

Expressing happiness that the two state governments are now working towards finding an amicable resolution to the remaining six areas of differences, Chauhan said, “This is imperative to ensure that our citizens ni the bordering areas are not denied access to peace and development.”

Chauhan also informed that the State government has constituted a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Mukroh incident in West Jaintia Hills district bordering Assam’s West Karbi Anglong district. He said the government is committed to ensure justice for the victims and their families. 

“To ensure protection of our citizens in the border areas, seven border outposts have been notified,” the Governor said. 

Concerning the peace talks with the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Chauhan said, “The peace talks have started, and the State Government is committed to ensure that the talks are concluded at the earliest. We are also thankful to the Government of India for their support.”

He also informed that the HNLC has indicated their willingness for unconditional talks within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.

Dwelling on the law and order front, Chauhan said the Meghalaya Police has focussed on improving the investigation of cases which led to an upward increase of charge sheets at 39.76 per cent in 2022 as compared to 32.2 per cent in 2021. 

“The Meghalaya Police has made great strides and is working on a war footing against drugs. The overall seizures have gone up considerably with contraband worth Rs 71 crores and cash amount of Rs 60 Lakh being recovered since 2022,” the Governor informed. 

Moreover, he said that the Government is committed towards strengthening the Police and creating supporting infrastructure. 

Highlighting the achievements of the government in agriculture and farmers’ welfare, Chauhan said, the state’s flagship programme FOCUS is being implemented successfully. 

“A support of Rs 5000 is being provided to farmers’ groups to undertake production related activities,” he said, adding that the State Government has also launched several missions to increase production in turmeric, ginger, spices, aromatic plants, mushroom and other horticulture products.

Similarly in animal husbandry, he said, the state government has launched piggery and milk mission to increase production, the Governor said adding, 413 cooperative societies have availed support amounting to Rs 80 crore to set up pig breeding and fattening units under the piggery mission. 

In fish production, Chauhan said the state has also made significant gains and has increased production to 18000 metric ton in 2022-23, compared to 12000 metric ton in 2017-18.

In the Community and Rural Development (C&RD) sector, nine new C&RD blocks have been notified, taking the total blocks in the state to 55. 

“This will improve the delivery of services and bring administration closer to the people,” the Governor said. 

On the implementation of MGNREGA, Chauhan said, Meghalaya is one of the best-performing states in the implementation of MGNREGA. 

“The expenditure under MGNREGA is expected to be over Rs. 1100 crore during this fiscal with improvement in wage expenditure and the number of persons days generated and assets created,” he added.

In the health sector, the Governor informed that 109 health facilities are being renovated and 19 are being newly constructed. 

Moreover, to address the challenges posed by high maternal and infant mortality rates, transit homes and vehicles have been operationalised to improve institutional deliveries. The government’s MOTHER programme has benefitted 2.2 lakh mothers.

Further, the Governor said, the Megha Health Insurance Scheme now provides insurance coverage of Rs 5.3 lakh per family.  

However, expressing concern over the high rate of cancer in the state, Chauhan said, the Cancer Wing of Civil hospital, Shillong which was inaugurated last year provides daycare facility and radiation therapy to cancer patients.

In the education sector, infrastructure upgrade of 1885 schools have been undertaken and salaries of Ad-hoc teachers have been increased by 50 per cent.

“The government has also taken up the responsibility of taking higher education to the doorsteps of the rural population by setting up 21 Peoples’ colleges,” Chauhan informed the House.

On urban development, Chauhan said, several projects are being implemented in Shillong city under the Smart City programme which includes construction of the Laitumkhrah market, Polo commercial complex, smart roads, integrated command and control centre and automatic car parking facility at Motphran.

The government has also taken a multi-pronged approach to decongest Shillong city and 30 buses have been procured and a shared school bus system is being introduced that would decongest the traffic in the city. 

The government has also acquired 807 acre of land in Mawpdang-Mawkhanu to expand the New Shillong Township, the Governor informed the House.

“It is also a matter of pride that the government could operationalise two 5 star hotels – Vivanta, Meghalaya and Courtyard by Marriot in 2022-23,” Chauhan said, adding these initiatives are in line with the government’s policy to make Meghalaya a high value tourist destination.

In the power sector, with the commissioning of the first phase of the Ganol Mini Hydro Electric project in January 2023, the state’s total installed capacity has gone up to 363.70 MegaWatt. “Works to strengthen and modernize the power distribution network and reduce technical and commercial losses are in progress,” Chauhan said.

On Planning Investment Promotion and Sustainable Development, the Governor said, the state government is mobilizing financial resources from the central government and external funding agencies like World Bank, Japan International Cooperative Agency, Asia Development Bank and New Development Bank. 

“The government is committed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda 2030. In the SDG India index 3.0, the state has seen an improvement from the 25th position to the 22nd position overall in the ranking of states,” the Governor informed the House. 

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