Shillong, June 15: Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma today said that the state government has suggested railway authority to put in place facilities in railway stations that would help chek influx as well as design railway connectivity to Meghalaya in such a way to promote high-end tourism to tourist destination like Sohra and provide a kind of train ride for romantic couples.
Sangma told reporters after a review meeting with Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) officials that every railway station should have facilitation centre, similar to the kind of facilities in the proposed entry/exit points along the road network, as the concern was to address the issue of illegal immigration and influx.
“Every railway station should have facilitation centre. We will start with the Mendipathar railway station immediately, and this whole proposal involves a number of stations. when everybody is satisfied, it will dispel all apprehensions,” he said.
Referring to the protest against railway line by the Khasi Students Union (KSU), the Chief Minister that the railway authority felt that such action would delay good things from coming to the state.
“Good sense should prevail and they (KSU) must understand the commitment of the leadership and the government. They should look at the overall sincerity as we have not diluted our commitment.” he said.
The Chief Minister also said that railway line has been a long drawn exercise of the Union and state government after understanding the actual requirement of the people of the state.
“We have done it in the western part (Garo Hills) and now we are trying to do in the eastern part (Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills). This particular project connecting Shillong by railway has been approved as a national project during 2010-2011. It is a culmination of long drawn engagement with the Central government,” the he said.
The Chief Minister also suggested the railway officials to design railway connectivity in such a way that would provide new opportunities for the state and the people, who can utilize railway for high-end tourism destination.
“The railway authority has been suggested to take the railway line beyond Shillong upto Sohra (Cherrapunjee) so that it becomes a separate dedicated railway only for tourism. It will be the most sought after train ride for people who would like to visit Meghalaya again and again. This will also provide a kind of train ride for romantic couples coming for honey moon and celebrating their anniversary in the midst of beauty and whole charm of nature,” Sangma said.
He also said that the railway stretch should have separate products linked to tourism and separate facility for farmers especially when the government has been embarking upon mission organic, so that such produces must find the right kind of market and most remunerative price, and farming should become remunerative and attractive for the people.
“We want to attract more and more people to farming. People associated with farming can also create this whole chain of business which will open up entrepreneurship,” he said.