GUWAHATI, Jan 28 - The North East has lots of talented young people, but most of them wither away due to lack of serious efforts to identify and nurture them, former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma said in a speech after playing the role of speaker at the 3rd North-East India Inter-College Debating Competition organised by Sonapur College here today.
�The voice of the North East is not sufficiently heard in Parliament, in Delhi and across the country. We have to raise our voices to be properly heard. We need fearless public speakers like Hem Barua, Dinesh Goswami and GG Swell. Those were the kind of leaders and public representatives who spoke fearlessly, loudly and clearly. We have to produce such leaders, and in more numbers,� he said.
Expressing optimism about the younger generation�s capability to become better leaders in the years to come, Sangma also pointed out that while most of the developed countries were growing old, India was fast emerging as a country of young people.
�Today, countries like China, Japan, the US and those of Europe are fasting becoming countries of elderly people. In contrast, India already has become a country of the largest young workforce. While an average Indian is soon becoming 29, that of an average Japanese has already become 47 years old,� Sangma, who also gave away the Sinam Uriba Singh Memorial Prizes to the winners, pointed out.
Earlier, inaugurating the competition, senior journalist Samudra Gupta Kashyap appealed to the youth to imbibe such qualities that would help them acquire more knowledge about the history, culture and economy of the region and thus become effective leaders.
�Society needs good leaders in every field. Only those who look at the north-eastern region as a whole and who think and act above petty politics can become good leaders and can bring about positive changes to people�s lives,� Kashyap said.
The jury of the debate competition comprised Handique Girls� College Associate Professor Dr Srutimala Duara, IIBM faculty Mayur Bora and broadcaster Dipak Sarma.
Altogether 16 college teams of the region, including one each from Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya, and thirteen from Assam participated in the competition. Samujjwal Dutta of Assam Academy of Media Studies was adjudged the best debater, while Bhanu Poudel of Tezpur University and Bijit Kalita of Chhaygaon College were adjudged the second and the third best debaters respectively.
The Cotton College State University and the Kohima Science College of Nagaland won the first and the second prizes respectively. This was stated in a press release issued here today.