SHILLONG, Oct 29: Five hundred cadres, including those from the disbanded ANVC, UALA and surrendered GNLA cadres, are all set to start their new lives as the three-month long skill development programme culmited with an impressive valedictory programme at SMELC Building in Tura on Saturday.
The “chief architect” of this training programme, Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma attended the function as the chief guest in the presence of the Parliamentary Secretaries, Noverfield Marak and Ashahel D Shira, South Tura Legislator John Leslee K. Sangma, Mahendraganj Legislator Dikkanchi D Shira and Tura MDC Rupert M. Sangma and gave away the Skill Development course completion certificates to the cadres.
The team of senior police officials who took care of the cadres, spiritual counselors and officials of the line departments who gave them training on various trades were also present and were honoured with appreciation certificates by the Chief Minister and other dignitaries.
The Chief Minister, in his address, termed the process a breakthrough that had been alluding us for a long time and said that it was the outcome of a collective endeavour of all concerned which was done with utmost sincerity and an outcome of a collective desire of the people in the western part of the state for restoration of sustaible peace in the region.
Stating that a number of contentious issues had led to many youths taking up arms, Dr Sangma said there was a need to address and rrow down the gap of the disparity in accessing various services in the social sector, adding that if contentious issues were not resolved “we will slip back and more problems will arise in future”.
He congratulated the cadres, particularly those who surrendered, for having the courage to “withdraw” from their respective organizations and instilled words of hope to them saying that this training programme was just a tip of the iceberg of many good things that would happen to them. He advised the cadres to use the rehabilitation package that would be given to them as “seed” money for starting their entrepreneurial ventures and called upon them to be partners with the government and send positive message to those who are still in the jungles through their success.
“We are competing with forces of darkness by creating opportunities with resources available in our own backyard and we will prevail,” he asserted and tried to dispel the concerns of those who perceive themselves as living in the most difficult areas by highlighting the huge livelihood scope in such areas due to availability of land in abundance.
He informed about his government’s proposal for tourism projects in the most difficult areas like the Nokrek, and Durama range across the Simsang River and also about the Aquaculture scheme earmarked separately for these cadres who have undergone the skill development training.
“When we look at opportunities available in our backyard there is no room to be poverty stricken,” the Chief Minister said, adding that there is enough space available for everyone in the State and there should be no reason to go outside in search of opportunities. The Chief Minister also spoke against those people with “holier than thou” attitude, who criticized the government for this initiative saying “every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.