Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik has highlighted key priorities of the state government for the overall development of the state.
Delivering his address on the first day of the Assembly’s budget session on Friday, Malik said the government was making concerted efforts to improve the standard of living of the people of the state through better governance. He said the government is focused on enhancing the service delivery in health and education sectors and to making larger investments in physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges, power and drinking water supply.
“Another critical focus is on improving rural livelihoods and promoting enterprises through mission mode interventions in the sectors of Agriculture, Horticulture, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry,” he said.
Malik said the North Eastern Council (NEC) had sanctioned Rs 142 crore for two projects under the North East Road Sector Development Scheme during 2020-21 for improving the roads along the inter-state border between Assam and Meghalaya.
He informed that at present, there are 37 on-going Non-Lapsable Central Pool of Resources projects with a total project cost of Rs 773.25 crore.
The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has released Rs 400.86 crore for undertaking various projects. Under the North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme, the Ministry of DoNER has sanctioned eight projects at a total cost of Rs 186.44 crore.
The governor also informed that sanctions have been obtained from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs for setting up 40 Eklavya Model Residential Schools in all the blocks of the state. “An amount of Rs 57.66 crore has been approved under Article 275(I) of the Constitution of India and Special Central Assistance of Tribal Sub-Scheme for the same,” he said.
Under the Megha-LAMP project, the governor said 1,325 out of the targeted 1,350 project villages have been supported to develop and implement their own integrated natural resource plan.
Till date, the project villages have been supported with over 1,100 water related interventions and around 320 land resource development interventions.
To enhance access to financial services in areas where the formal banking sector is yet to reach, 300 community-promoted Integrated Village Cooperative Societies have been registered.
These societies cover over 65,000 households in the state. Additionally, a total of 205 kms of roads have been constructed across the state for improving access to markets.
Malik further informed that the state government is also undertaking the Meghalaya Integrated Transport Project funded by the World Bank at a cost of Rs 768 crore. The project will improve about 500 km of strategic road segments and standalone bridges by using innovative, climate resilient and nature-based solutions.
The project cover major stretches such as the Bajengdoba – Resulbelpara – Mendipathar stretch, the Rongram-Rongrenggre-Darugre stretch, construction of a parallel road to the existing Dalu-Baghmara road, the Shillong Diengpasoh stretch, the Rongjeng-Mansang-Adokgre stretch etc. It also includes the construction of bridges over the Shella, Umngot and Damring rivers. The project would help the state harness its growth potential for high value tourism and agriculture and also enable the state to take advantage of its strategic location to emerge as a major connecting hub for trade with neighbouring countries.
He said further, there are several projects that are being proposed to be funded under EAP including the Meghalaya Farmers’ Mobilization, Protection of Vulnerable Catchment areas, infrastructure project for wellness and health at Jakrem, infrastructure for promoting natural history and natural conservation at Nokrek, Inland fisheries sector development project etc, which are at an advanced stage of approval.
Under the Ease of Doing Business Reforms, the governor said all the 45 services have been made online. The auto-renewals and centralized inspection system have been successfully implemented.
On the education sector, Malik said the state government is determined and focussed to improve the standards of education in the state. Over 200 elementary and 8 secondary and higher secondary schools have been identified for upgrading their infrastructures, he said adding additional 110 schools have been upgraded nder funding from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. In the higher education sector, he said the state government has initiated works for new building of degree colleges at Sohra, Williamnagar and Baghmara.
Informing that under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, the professional colleges at Shillong and Tura are nearing completion, Malik said the construction of the model degree college at Patharkhmah in Ri Bhoi district has been completed and 65% of the work has been completed for the model degree college at Rongjeng in East Garo Hills while upgradation of existing degree colleges to model degree colleges at Mendipathar, Mawkyrwat and Nongtalang has also begun.
Regarding the activities of the water resources department, the governor said the identified irrigation potential of Meghalaya is about 2.18 lakh Ha, out of which the department had created an irrigation potential of 58,354 Ha, till 2019-20. During 2020-21, 84 minor irrigation projects are undergoing, covering an area of 12,967 Ha, under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana at a total cost of Rs 288.8 crore. The department is also implementing the National Hydrology Project, for data acquisition, monitoring and decision support system for the water resources in the state.