SHILLONG, July 19 - Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma today said reopening of the old Stilwell Road connecting China would help develop border trade in Northeastern region.
Speaking at the 10th Edition of Delhi Dialogue in New Delhi, Sangma said, the Sitwell Road from Ledo in Assam to Kunming, Yunan Province of China via Myanmar covers a length of 1,736 kms. He said reopening of this road would be of immense benefit for the people of the region in terms of boosting trade. The Indian Government has decided not to open this road owing to security concerns.
�Connectivity in the form of roads, railways and airways linking the States to ASEAN countries is vital for growth and development. These communication networks play dynamic roles as veins and arteries for flow of goods, services and persons within and outside the country�, he said.
Sangma further said Meghalaya has accorded top priority in providing all-weather road connectivity and accessibility to market centres, border haats and other important destinations to help famers.
�Roads are the priority sector and requires full-scale development for promotion of trade, tourism, cultural exchange and technology transfer,� he told the gathering which included Minister of State for External Affairs, General (retd) VK Singh and Chief Ministers of other Northeastern States.
Speaking about air connectivity, Sangma said if this mode of transportation is improved movement of tourists, students from ASEAN countries would get an opportunity to take advantage of the educational facilities available in the region.
He also hoped that ropeways and cable cars could play an important part in the day-to-day life of a common man in the inaccessible parts of the State, particularly along the southern slopes bordering Bangladesh.
�These areas are very fertile and produce high quality agricultural and horticultural products like oranges. However, getting these products to the market takes an extraordinary effort due to the difficult terrain,� he said.
Appreciating the steps taken by the Centre in holding the dialogue annually since 2009, the Chief Minister said, �Putting a robust policy framework in position is essential. This Delhi Dialogue has given us an opportunity for the people of NE to express their aspirations for boosting trade and cultural relations with ASEAN countries.�