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Conrad Sangma wants Shillong to be Presidential retreat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a recent meeting with Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a recent meeting with Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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‘The retreat will send out a message of inclusiveness’

The President has two places of stay other than the Rashtrapati Bhavan — the 1895 Retreat Building at Mashorba, Shimla, and the Rashtrapati Nilayam at Bolarum, Hyderabad.

If Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma has his way, the President could have a third retreat in Shillong.

Mr. Sangma said on Monday that he submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently with a list of suggestions, including the setting up of a retreat for the President in Shillong. “As the erstwhile capital of the northeastern region, Shillong would be an ideal place for the President to stay for two weeks annually,” he said. The President’s stay, he said, would send out a strong message of inclusiveness and assure the region of the importance the Union government accords to it.

The CM also suggested an eight-lane highway from Guwahati, Assam, to the Chittagong port in Bangladesh, through Meghalaya, for promoting exports. “The northeastern region accounts for 1% of India’s exports because of geographical constraints. The nearest port, in Kolkata, is more than 1,000 km from Guwahati. About 600 km of a highway to Chittagong would benefit the region,” he said.

Mr. Sangma suggested a road, through Bangladesh, to reduce the travel time between the region and the mainland through ‘Chicken’s Neck’ in northern West Bengal. The Siliguri Corridor, or Chicken’s Neck, is a narrow stretch of land of 22 km, in West Bengal, that connects the northeastern region to the rest of India. Nepal and Bangladesh are on either side. He said a 110-km road between Hili in West Bengal and Mahendraganj in Meghalaya through Bangladesh would facilitate faster transport from the region.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 6:18:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/conrad-sangma-wants-shillong-to-be-presidential-retreat/article28022178.ece

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