Shillong Dec 7: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Tuesday inaugurated the higher secondary building of St. Xavier’s at Umoid near Mawkyrwat in South West Khasi Hills.
Among the dignitaries present at the inauguration were local MLA and Minister, P.H.E., Renikton Tongkhar Lyngdoh and Regional Development Director, Jesuits in the Northeast India, Fr. Anand Pareira.
During his address the Chief Minister said that the Jesuits have always contributed immensely to the holistic development of the society through their various initiatives.
He expressed optimism that St. Xaviers Umoid will also develop into a ‘centre of excellence’ that will impart quality education to the people of the region.
Impressed by the display of talent and confidence of the students during the inaugural function the Chief Minister also advised students to have a sense of purpose and passion for what they do, adding that there is no substitute for discipline and hard work to be successful in life.
During the occasion the Chief Minister also took the opportunity to inform the people that the Government has secured externally aided projects for upscaling of tourism infrastructure in South West Khasi Hills.
‘Few months back I had come to see some of the tourist destinations out here and based on my last visit, I had prepared externally aided project through JICA and I’m happy to inform you that JICA has cleared it’, he said.
The Chief Minister added that some of the popular tourist locations in the area such as the hot springs, the monoliths and other attractions would be developed under the PPP model with active involvement of local communities.
‘In Meghalaya we have decided that we will partner with the community, not just an individual, and we will ensure that the benefits and returns of whatever investment the Government makes goes back to the people’, Sangma said.
The Chief Minister also said that development of tourism will create environmentally less impactful and sustainable livelihood opportunities for the people.
‘We feel that our people are dependent on resources which are exhaustible whether it’s the forest products or the different mineral resources we have… they have limitations, and one day or one point in time we will run out these resources. Even as we speak our forest covers are being affected because people don’t have the livelihood options’, he said.
He added that it is the responsibility of the Government to create alternative means of livelihood so that people will not depend on forest and forest products or depletable mineral resources and shift towards more sustainable forms of economic development such as tourism.