Shillong: National People’s Party (NPP) president, Conrad K Sangma today took oath as chief minister of Meghalaya for the second consecutive term even as he pledged to build a better Meghalaya for the people.
The oath-taking ceremony was held in the ‘historic’ presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Union Home minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda and Assam chief minister and NEDA chairman Himanta Biswa Sarma were also among those present on the occasion.
Governor Phagu Chauhan administered the oath to the 12-member council of ministers.
Prestone Tynsong and Sniawbhalang Dhar took oath as deputy chief ministers.
Ampareen Lyngdoh is the lone woman sworn in as cabinet minister.
Commingone Ymbon, AT Mondal, Marcuise N Maram and Rakkam A Sangma were among those from the NPP who were sworn in as cabinet ministers.
UDP’s Paul Lyngdoh and Kyrmen Shylla, Alexander Laloo Hek of the BJP and Shakliar Warjri of the HSPDP also took oath as ministers.
The National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance-2 government has the support of 45 MLAs.
Spelling out his top priorities on being sworn in as chief minister, Conrad K Sangma said, “We have laid the foundation in the last five years for many sectors and we will continue to work aggressively on those foundations and build a better state for our people.”
“We will continue to focus on the areas in which we are working in the last five years primarily to ensure that the overall infrastructure improvement is there. We are working very hard towards the social sector improvement like health and education and social welfare. Of course, we are giving a lot of importance to the youth especially when it comes to employment issues and livelihood issues. So those are going to be the main concerns and areas where this government is going to focus on,” he added.
Asserting the need to further improve the overall delivery mechanism and overall efficiency at the grassroots level, Sangma said, “We have improved that in the last five years. The same schemes which were implemented in the previous years did much better in the last five years because the accountability, the monitoring that we did will continue to ensure that the impact at the grassroots level of different programmes and schemes is felt to the maximum level.”
On the decision to have two deputy chief ministers, Sangma said there has been a precedent in the past and there is nothing wrong in it. “In fact, it is a strong representation of the different regions of the state and it sends a positive message of ‘inclusiveness’. That is the reason why we have gone ahead with it,” he added.
The chief minister further informed that he would distribute the portfolios among the cabinet ministers within the next 24 to 48 hours.
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On the alleged illegal mining and transportation of coal in the state, Sangma said, “Of course, we have always maintained that and we will ensure that steps are taken to ensure no such activities that are there should take place.”
He also assured that scientific mining of coal will start in the next couple of months and said, “It is already in the process. We have worked very hard in the last five years. We have seen that now we are almost on the verge of four different groups that have now received the clearances and their mining plan should be cleared in the next couple of months and post that we expect scientific mining will start in the state.”
With regards to the pending issue related to the relocation of the Sweepers’ Colony from Them Iew Mawlong, the chief minister said the government is going to work towards it.
“The committee has been working very hard in the last five years. We will see how to move forward and carry everybody along and come to an amicable solution,” he said.
He further assured that his government is committed to resolving the remaining six areas of difference with Assam.
Meanwhile, Sangma admitted that there will always be differences and issues among coalition partners and said, “But what is important is that we should work together and we should find our way to amicably solve problems and issues that are there. Of course in coalition partners there could be divergent views on certain issues. That’s fine but as I said, as we go forward we will ensure there is better coordination and we work as a strong team.”