India Business
Kalam unveils roadmap for Meghalaya's development
Mar 16, 2007 - 4:09:19 PM

Shillong, March 16 - President A.P.J Abdul Kalam Friday unveiled a roadmap for the overall socio-economic development of Meghalaya by focusing on ways to exploit its natural resources, besides promoting tourism and medicinal herbs.

'Value addition to horticulture and floriculture, enhancing the tourism potential, cottage industries, handicrafts, wool and sericulture on the state's core competencies and technologies, will lead to higher incomes and employment opportunities and therefore higher growth rates,' the president said.

Kalam was addressing members of the Meghalaya assembly in capital Shillong on the last leg of his three-day visit to the northeast.

The roadmap visualised by the president for Meghalaya for becoming self-reliant by 2017 includes optimum stress on the five national missions - water, energy, education and skills, infrastructure, besides employment generation.

'Meghalaya can increase its per-capita income to Rs.60,000 from the existing Rs.23,381 in five years, besides improving the human development ranking of the state from the present 24 to less than five,' Kalam said.

He also called for promoting business ties between Meghalaya and adjoining country Bangladesh.

'I can see the political environment, you have to continuously improve relations with the neighbouring countries, so that Meghalaya can benefit in business at the same time keeping security as a primary need in mind,' the president said.

He emphasised the need for exploiting the immense tourism potential of Meghalaya with a call to the state government for encouraging public-private partnership.

'The state government should enter into a public-private partnership agreements with tourism-based institutions which can create infrastructure from hotels, roads, water systems, power systems, wayside amenities, tourism spots on a build, own, operate and transfer model,' Kalam said.

Meghalaya received 375,000 national tourists and 5,000 foreign tourists last year.

'You should aim at generating minimum one million national tourists and 50,000 foreign tourists by the year 2012. The required infrastructure in the form of roads, civic amenities, hotels, healthcare facilities has to be built on a mission mode. This will enable generation of over 250,000 jobs for the youth in the tourism sector,' the president said.

Kalam later interacted with students and faculty members of the North Eastern Hill University in Shillong and reiterated his vision for Meghalaya.

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