Meghalaya to make rural living more attractive

Meghalaya CM said an amount of more than Rs 3,000 crore would be required to kick-start the project.

Updated: May 16, 2011, 19:39 PM IST

Shillong: Meghalaya government is trying to make living in villages "more attractive" by initiating an ambitious project for ensuring sustainable livelihood in and around the river basins for the rural masses.

"I have sought special support for implementation of the Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Programme," Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who recently met PM Manmohan Singh to give a "special presentation" on the flagship programmes of the state said today.

He said an amount of more than Rs 3,000 crore would be required to kick-start the project, which seeks to take river basins as "focal point" of all economic activities in the state.

"It is aimed to derive optimum benefit by harnessing natural resources in an eco-friendly manner for producing power by blending time-tested traditional knowledge with modern technology and ensure livelihood activities around natural resources," Sangma explained.

"This will make living in rural areas attractive and provide alternatives to jhumming (shifting cultivation) and ensure supply of water for irrigation and drinking," he said, adding that the programme would also entail recharge of catchment areas and repletion of ground-water besides making river basins "anglers’ paradise" and also promote rural eco-tourism by involving all stakeholders.

"There will be complete participation of the people in planning and implementation," the CM said, even as he informed that at least one river basin each of the seven districts of the state have been identified so far for the purpose.

"Every area of the state should be made equally attractive for people to inhabit," he iterated.

The CM also sought Central support for setting up of a government medical college in Tura besides development of the New Shillong Township and building of a new assembly building.

The chief minister said that the PM has assured him of all necessary support in this regard, adding that the state would require "substantial funds" for implementation of its ambitious programmes.