SHILLONG: Railways would be a game changer for the land-locked north eastern state and would help boost tourism, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today said.
“The railway connectivity to Shillong can be a game changer in our pursuit to promote the state as the most favoured tourist destination,” Sangma said here.
He said the railway lines need not to be only used as a passenger train but the services should be provided to the tourists as well.
“Therefore, we would like to take the advantage of railway connectivity to promote high-end tourism in the state,” Sangma said.
Sangma’s statement assumes significance in the view of tribal bodies opposing the introduction of railways for the fear of influx.
Referring to the railway line in Garo hills, the chief minister said that he was happy to see farmers from North Garo hills assess markets like Guwahati.
“I have been informed that farmers and entrepreneurs have now started utilising the railway line between Mendipathar to Guwahati to sell their farm products,” he said adding that there were proposals to connect other parts of the country.
On the proposed railway projects at Byrnihat and Shillong, he said the whole issue of land acquisition has been worked out and entire alignment have been finalised.
“Regarding Shillong, the whole alignment has been worked out and the survey is on,” he said adding the land acquisition has some glitches but “we will overcome.” Allaying fears of influx in the state, the chief minister said that comprehensive measures adopted by the state would be capable of dealing with such a situation.
“Besides these measures, we already have many other existing laws which empower and equip our people with the right kind of wherewithal to deal with illegal immigration and influx,” he said.
Stating that government has showed its commitment to deal with the issue of influx and illegal immigration, he said, “I have approved a file today which includes some proposal for spending on entry/exit points.”