CM inaugurates new district

Our Correspondent

Shillong, July 31: East Jaintia Hills became the ninth district in Meghalaya today after it was inaugurated by chief minister Mukul Sangma at Khliehriat, about 100km from here.

Khliehriat was created as an administrative unit on August 14, 1976 and it was upgraded to a civil subdivision on May 27, 1982.

The total area of the new East Jaintia Hills district is 2,115 square km with a population of 1,22,436 residing in 206 villages. The district has two community and rural development blocks with their headquarters at Khliehriat and Saipung. There are two Assembly constituencies in the district, Sutnga Saipung and Khliehriat constituency.

The road length in the district under the central division of National Highways is 92km while under the state roads (NEC division) the length is 513km. The major minerals found in the district include coal, limestone and fire clay and there are 10 cement plants here.

Speaking at the inauguration, Sangma urged the people of the new district to extend their support to the government and thus enable it to serve them and fulfil their aspirations.

Stating that there have been too many instances where the government has not been permitted to do its work, he urged the people not to waste time by resorting to agitation.

In this regard, Sangma said there has been a remarkable change in the last two years which has enabled the government to perform its duties.

Likening the new East Jaintia Hills district to a newborn, he said it demands the attention of both the people and the government and called for a partnership between the two to make the district vibrant and progressive.

With regard to the abundance of natural resources available in the district, the chief minister said a balance between exploitation of these resources and preserving the environment is the need of the hour.

He also appealed to the people of the new district to step forward and help the government with regard to the construction of the deputy commissioner's office. He stated that while the government has enough money for such a project, the people need to provide land for the development of the project.

Stressing on the need for a railway line in the region, Sangma said Assam was benefiting from Meghalaya's coal and the rapid development that Meghalaya's neighbour is experiencing could also be seen here.

He said railways will be a boon to the economy of the state and urged the people to be more accommodating in this regard.

"The youth need the best education," Sangma said, adding that the Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide a 90 per cent grant and 10 per cent loan of around Rs 500 crore to Meghalaya.

This money would be used for education, health care and youth-oriented programmes, he added.

With regard to education, Sangma announced that the state government has decided to provincialise the Jaintia Eastern College.

Last week, the North Garo Hills district was inaugurated at Resubelpara. Two more districts ' South West Khasi Hills in Mawkyrwat and South West Garo Hills in Ampati ' will be inaugurated next month.