Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma appealed to the Opposition Congress in the Legislative Assembly to stop politicizing the idea of issuance of work permits to Bangladeshi nationals.
Replying to a short discussion in the assembly on Thursday, Sangma assured to take necessary steps for “protecting the identity of the people, its land and youths” while boosting the state’s economic prosperity simultaneously.
Replying to concerns raised by the opposition over his idea of issuing work permits to Bangladeshi nationals, Sangma said: “It was just an idea and not a formal proposal. The media and opposition have blown it up. In a democracy everyone is entitled to express their own views and ideas.”
“Prior to partition, northeast India had the highest per capita income in the country as the region was involved in trade with other countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and others,” he added.
He also added that the “Act East Policy” has the potential to usher in socio-economic development in the region, and Shillong and Guwahati can become the international hub for at least seven Asean countries.
“Only through improved trade and commerce, the youths can become job givers and not job seekers,” Sangma said.
Meghalaya’s Chief Minister further added that conducting trade with the seven Asean countries along with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal would be easier than seeking funds from Delhi.
In response to Sangma, the opposition briefly staged a walkout from the assembly.
The discussions were initiated by Congress legislator and former Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh by raising concerns over Sangma’s idea of issuing work permits to Bangladeshi nationals.
Leader of the opposition and former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma also registered his protest against the aforesaid idea and stated it would have serious ramifications for the state.