Aizawl: Mizoram is preparing to host a B20 session on Thursday, and the capital city of Aizawl is currently bustling with preparations.

The state will host the B20 Initiative, the official G20 dialogue forum for the global business community, from March 1-3, 2023. It is the second of the four Business 20 (B20) sessions being organised in the Northeast. 

Various preparations have been made in Mizoram, such as repairing roads, decorating the airport, and beautifying the city. However, what has added a unique angle to Mizoram’s G20 preparation is the community spirit.

Residents of the Chawlhhmun getting ready to clean the locality

The community unites

On February 25 and February 28, the residents of the capital city came together early in the morning in their respective localities to clean the roads and clear weeds. Announcements were made through the community microphone one day prior and on the morning of the assigned day for community volunteering.

Children cleaning the roadside in preparation for G20

David H Lalthangliana, OSD cum Joint Secretary and Member Secretary of the Sub-Committee on Overall Coordination for the G20 meeting, spoke about this initiative, stating, “Our state may not have much in terms of infrastructure, but what we do have is cleanliness. This is something we can sell to investors. When they see how well we maintain cleanliness, they will understand that we have integrity and will be encouraged to do business with us.”

He commented on the community support saying, “We have received commendable support from the YMA and the local council. Every locality from Chaltlang to Zemabawk and Durtlang, even the localities where the dignitaries and delegates do not have official programs are going through a cleanliness drive.” 

Aizawl residents participating in volunteer work

17 delegates from 17 countries

The B20 meeting will be attended by 48 overseas business delegates and 17 diplomats from 17 countries. Among them, 85 entrepreneurs from Mizoram and 16 participants from other parts of the country will also be present. The overseas delegates are representing various nations, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Costa Rica, Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), China, France, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the United States, and Zimbabwe, along with Indian and local business participants. The event will also see the participation of trade and business delegations and representatives from Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Japan.

Investment to be the main goal – Chief Minister

In an interaction with media persons on Tuesday morning, Chief Minister Zoramthanga said the goal of the meeting and its success will be determined by the investment ventures.

“The B20 meeting in Mizoram will help commence discussions on the identified priorities and will begin work towards formulating policy recommendations. It would help the State to project it as an important investment destination by showcasing its strength besides giving the delegates a sneak peek into our culture, heritage, festivals and the tourism potential,” he said. 

“The B20 conference scheduled on March 2, 2023, will focus on Opportunities for Multilateral Business Partnerships in Urban planning, Infrastructure, Bamboo, Startups, Skill Development, Handloom & Handicraft, Nursing and Paramedics. Taking advantage of the presence of a large contingent of international delegates, my government is making elaborate arrangements not only to showcase Investment and partnership opportunities in the state but also to provide a unique experience for visiting delegates with exposure to the state’s culture, cuisine, art, festivities, and scenic beauty,” he added. 

An ugly side of the beautification

While the city is now clean and fresh and decorated with banners and hoardings all the way from the airport to the city, the preparations have shown an ugly side of Mizoram as well. A patchwork of the roads leading to Mizoram University which were filled with potholes was repaired in preparation for the meeting. However, the need for repairs has led to criticism as the same road was repaired just before the maiden visit of President Droupadi Murmu in November 2022. 

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Rachel Lalremtluangi, a student of Mizoram University told EastMojo, “The fact that the roads were reconstructed a few months back because the President was coming and to think that it needs another reconstruction because of the G20 summit which is to be held on the 2nd of March shows exactly how inefficient our state and our leaders are. We should have regular visitors from VIPs because it is the only way students can enjoy driving to class on good quality roads.” 

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