Shillong, Sept 22, (Kharkutta): Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday distributed FOCUS + cards to beneficiaries at Kharkutta in North Garo Hills in presence of Deputy Speaker Timothy D Shira, MLAs Rupert Momin and Pongseng Marak.
In a grand event attended by over 5000 farmers at Kharkutta to celebrate the success of FOCUS – a farmers collectivisation programme and roll out of FOCUS +, an extended programme for the welfare of individual farmers, the Chief Minister said that Government has envisioned to continue with both the programmes for the next 10 years to ensure socio – economic turnaround amongst the farming communities.
Distributing FOCUS + cards Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said that the Government will continue to support farmers through this program and an annual budget of ₹250 cr will be earmarked.
“This is the second year of the programme and the Government has witnessed the success of this programme and has decided to continue with this programme for transformation of the farming sector and welfare of the farmers,” he said.
Focus + is a flagship initiative of the Government wherein each member of a Producer Groups formed under FOCUS are given ₹ 5000 individual cash benefit. It is to be noted that Focus + is an expansion of the biggest farmers welfare programme FOCUS that aims to empower farmers in the State with minimum support. Under the FOCUS programme each producer groups (PGs) are given ₹5000 each for the total members of the group.
During the programme, the Chief Minister also handed over piglets under PROGRESS, a scheme that aims to ensure sustainable and income generation activities through livestock farming.
On piggery intervention, the Chief Minister said that 18000 metric tonnes of pork is consumed in the State annually which amounts to ₹ 630 cr and there is huge opportunity in the sector.
While informing that at least 50 percent of the total quantity of pork is imported from other States, which amounts to ₹315 cr, he said that the Government through the PROGRESS scheme and Piggery Mission will tap the shortage of pork in the market and ensure that farmers earn a sustained income. “We can increase the production and make the state self-reliant in pork production”, he added.
He also said that Piggery mission is being initiated through cooperative societies and people should take advantage of the programme. “State is moving towards a direction to make itself self-reliant in meat production through the various mission mode programmes such as goatry, Piggery, fish, etc.”, the Chief Minister added.
Through the Progress programme, the Government will ensure that import of pork from other States can be minimised and supply of pork availability can be increased in the State, he added.
On promoting youth initiatives, the Chief Minister said, at least 2000 registered youth organisations in the State will benefit from the “Yess” programme. He said that under the programme Government has envisioned to support 5000 groups, so that different activities related to promotion of culture, sports, arts, environment and other activities could be taken up.
The objective of Yess initiative is to give upto ₹1 lakh to each group to utilise the funds for different youth activities.
During the day-long visit to North Garo Hills, the Chief Minister also laid the foundation for two bridges at Chikal Pekro and at Kentra village both over Manda river that connects North Garo Hills to East Garo Hills route.
He also inspected the ongoing construction of the Rongjeng – Mangsang – Adokgre road as well as inspected the ongoing construction of the Chenanggre Stadium at Adokgre. He later visited the recently completed Banana Processing Unit at Kharkutta.