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Cong States Stress Growth- Trade Focus With Neighboring Countries

AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi during the 83rd Plenary Session of the Congress at Parliament Annexe in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)

SHILLONG, Dec. 20: The Congress-ruled states of the Northeast stressed the need for economic progress through promotion of trade with neighboring countries, during the three-day AICC plenary session that concluded today.

They also said negotiations with militant groups had brought positive tidings in the region and urged the Centre to continue the peace process.

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma said over phone from Delhi today that the participants from the Northeast had suggested that insurgency-related problems could be solved by rapid economic growth in the region, especially by improving trade and commerce with neighboring countries.

The Northeast in general and Meghalaya in particular have not been able to derive full economic benefits by engaging in trade and commerce with Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar because of lack of basic infrastructure, he added.

Sangma said one of the many resolutions adopted during the AICC session was that all northeastern states should promote more trade with neighboring countries.

He said several drafting committees, comprising Congress leaders from the Northeast, had been formed to follow up the points discussed during the session.

The chief minister hoped the Centre would frame effective policies to help the northeastern states improve economic ties with its neighbors. ‘We hope the Centre will help provide good infrastructure in the border areas so that the land-locked Northeast can improve international trade and commerce,’ he said.

He said Congress leaders from the region want the UPA government to initiate measures for better road and rail connectivity with border areas rich in mineral resources and agriculture and horticulture produce. The need to set up more land customs stations on the border should also be addressed immediately, he added.

Before Partition, Meghalaya and Bangladesh had a flourishing trade and commerce through border markets known as haats. The Meghalaya government is trying to revive these markets to improve the livelihood of people living along the state’s border with the neighboring country.

Sangma said the plenary session also resolved to solve insurgency in the Northeast. It felt that the Centre had made considerable progress in the last few years in bringing peace to the region.

‘Steps are being taken to hold parleys with various groups and negotiations will continue to be held till a logical conclusion is reached,’ he added.

(Courtesy: Telegraph India)

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