Guwahati: “Once Bodoland (Bodoland Territorial Region-BTR) was a conflict zone. But it was a thing of the past. We are now transforming into a hub of intelligence,” Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Pramod Boro said here on Thursday.
Boro was describing the programmes of the first Bodoland International Knowledge Festival organized by the Bodoland University (BU) at Kokrajhar from February 27 to March 2.
“This will be a festival of knowledge. There will be a special discussion on how the BTR would be a part of the Act East Policy benefits. We will explore all the possibilities for development fo road, air and rail connectivity and industrial infrastructure to transform BTR into a hub of South East Asia under the Act East Policy of India government,” Boro said.
Located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra below the foothills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, the BTR covers 9,000 sq km of areas of the state. BTR comprising four districts Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri- is the entry point of Northeast India.
“There will be seven special sessions on sustainable development of BTR as well as Assam and Northeast,” Boro said.
Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh will inaugurate the festival in which 35 international delegates from 14 countries are scheduled to take part.
The festival is organized to establish Kokrajhar globally as a destination of knowledge sharing and peace, Bodoland University is organizing the first-ever festival in collaboration with the BTR government.
The four-day event will witness the participation of Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union minister of state for education & external affairs Dr RK Ranjan Singh, Assam Legislative Assembly speaker Biswajit Daimari and vice-chancellors of five different universities of Assam among others.
“This will be one of the biggest events being conducted in the BTR. We want to establish Kokrajhar and the BTR as destinations for education, knowledge sharing and tourism with this mega event,” Boro said.
“Over the years Kokrajhar and the BTR were portrayed in the negative. We were known for insurgency and backwardness. But time has changed and we have moved ahead. Now we want Kokrajhar and the BTR to be known as a destination for intelligent people, not an insurgency,” Boro also said.
The BTR chief said they want to draw knowledge and expertise from experts in various fields to enhance epistemic dialogue across cultures and communities.
He further said the BTC administration has prepared DPR for more than 20 development projects for the sustainable development of the region.
“With this Knowledge Festival, we want to create an atmosphere of dialogue and participatory priority‐setting for addressing concerns of contemporary human society which would promote scientific temperament to address social and economic concerns of the society in a post-conflict scenario,” he said.
Further, the Bodoland International Knowledge Festival will document the knowledge exchange for continued learning and praxis: knowledge-action-reflection by different communities of practice in BTR.
The thematic area of the Bodoland International Knowledge Festival is the achievement of social development priorities and key Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 in contemporary BTR and the world.
“There will be discussions on science & technology, livelihood, indigenous knowledge system, women empowerment, child rights & protection, peacebuilding, good governance, communication and media, behavioural change & communication, human rights, sustainable agriculture, climate justice and action, quality education, health and wellbeing, art & culture, youth entrepreneurship, intellectual property rights, trade, commerce and investment and BTR in the light of the Act East Policy,” Boro further said.
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“There will be the participation of more than 300 invited delegates from across India and 35 international delegates from 14 countries,” he said.
“More than 10,000 participants will be taking part in the Knowledge Festival comprising students, academicians, researchers, development practitioners, government officials, politicians, entrepreneurs, farmers and SHG members among others,” he added.
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