Meghalaya chief minister meeting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka on Thursday Credit: Meghalaya CMO

Shillong: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma met Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday and discussed different possibilities of economic relationship between the state and the neighbouring country. Sangma said that Meghalaya can be a great partner of Bangladesh for development as the Northeast state has enough raw materials including limestone, cement clinkers, coal, and boulders.

“It was a positive meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. We discussed different issues related to the relationship between Meghalaya and Bangladesh and India as a whole. She was very positive about the different possibilities in terms of economic relationship with India and specifically with Meghalaya. She also stressed on the fact that connectivity is very important and stressed on the fact that water waste is something that we can develop. She informed us that there are a number of projects under the railways and under the road connectivity which will allow access for the northeast,” he said.

Sangma also apprised the PM of the Meghalaya delegation’s aim — to specifically look at projects under the agriculture, horticulture sector, power sector, tourism sector and also things to do with mining. “We also touched on the heritage and linkage between past histories that India and Bangladesh share, specifically to do with Meghalaya. Expressed to her the need to link our cultural heritage with each other and that could be a starting point to build up a much stronger relationship so that we can take the economic activities forward from here,” Sangma added.

The CM will take things forward as this would require a lot of involvement of the government of India and Bangladesh. And in the process, several things will be carried out.

“It does not mean that things will change immediately or we will see a transformation in one go. It’s a process it does take time. But for a start the existing entry and exit points and the existing ICP that are there, the border haats, land custom stations that are there we need to ensure that the infrastructure in these locations, the movement of people and goods in these lines should be streamlined,” said Sangma.

During the meeting, tourism was one sector that was stressed upon. An MoU was signed with tour operators of Dhaka and Meghalaya on Thursday.

Sangma added, “The MoU will really help us in connecting the tourists and allowing smoother flow for the tourists. Another step we want to work towards is agriculture as we see a clear cut combination for both, where they have got the manufacturing capability and we have the raw materials yet not able to find the market for it. In the mining sector, there is a huge scope, a lot of things happening in the mining sector that should be streamlined. These are the few things that may happen in the short term and medium-term and of course, in the long term we are seeing many infrastructure projects that are going to come up in both sides of the border and this maybe a game-changer not only for Meghalaya but for the region as a whole.”

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