SHILLONG, Feb 28 � Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Bindo Lanong said on Monday that the State does not manufacture even a safety pin and is totally �dependent� on others for industrial products.
�We export what Nature has provided us like limestone, coal, fruits, flowers, etc., but we are not manufacturing even a safety pin and remain dependent on others for industrial products,� he said.
He was speaking during the inauguration of a workshop titled �Mentoring and monitoring of projects under Export Development Fund (EDF) for the North East� organised by the North Eastern Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (NEITCO) Ltd here.
Although limestone and coal export is an industry in itself, these are all non-renewable resources and will get depleted after a certain period of time, he said.
�These are time-bound industries being operated by big business houses from outside the State. We do not have any manufacturing industry worth its name in Meghalaya,� he said.
Lanong said that the State during the 1960s and early 1980s had several small-scale industries manufacturing soaps, candles and other items, which had shut down over the years.
�Let us start from scratch and begin with small-scale and cottage industries,� he urged the young entrepreneurs gathered at the workshop.
Advocating against setting up of �big� industries, Lanong said that such industries would contribute to degradation of the environment. Meghalaya�s greenery must be preserved and a balance should be struck between industrialisation and environment protection, the minister advocated.
He also urged organisations such as the NEITCO to come forward and guide the youths to set up small-scale and cottage industries aimed at export.
On the other hand, Commissioner and Secretary, Commerce and Industry, L Kharkongor said Meghalaya has sent only two projects so far under the EDF, which are yet to be sanctioned funds.
In 2000, the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced in Shillong a Rs 10,271-crore financial package for export promotion of products from the region through the EDF. However, the response till date has been poor in terms of receiving projects from the region.