SHILLONG: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Monday announced Rs 13 crore special package for development of tourism infrastructure and amenities at Nongkhnum Island in West Khasi Hills.
Nongkhnum is known as the second largest river island in Asia after Majuli in Assam. He visited the Island with his family accompanied by district administration officials. He was in Nongstoin to interact with Producer Groups (PGs) , formed under Farmers' Collectivization for Upscaling of Production and Marketing Systems (FOCUS) – a flagship initiative of the State Government.
Interacting with the farmers, the Chief Minister said that the government had earmarked Rs. 200 crore for farmers welfare programme in the State. He said that the government was keen to understand the issues and concerns of the farmers and come up with appropriate policies to ensure maximum benefit reaches the farmers.
"FOCUS is an innovative welfare programme, whereby the government ensures that the farmers are able to enhance their productivity as well as avail benefit of credit linkages and strengthen access to markets," he added.
He also took the opportunity to inform the gathering that the government had accorded thrust to ensure that road connectivity in the district is improved. He also told that the Greater Nongstoin Water Supply Scheme is nearing completion and will be inaugurated soon. Through this ambitious programme, the Meghalaya Basin Management Authority (MBMA), the nodal implementing agency identifies production clusters of marketable produce, focuses on Value Chain Analysis of the produce, forming bottom-up small collectives known as Producer Groups (PGs), identifying and training extension service providers known as Service Producers (SPs) and building large collectives in the form of Cooperative Societies and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) through bringing together well functioning PGs.
In the West Khasi Hills District, the formation of Producer Groups (PG) started from March, 2021 in Mawshynrut Block and subsequently from July, 2021 onwards in Nongstoin Block and altogether around 183 groups have been formed. The products identified for value chain development are ginger, seasonal vegetables, broom grass, sericulture and arecanut. The empanelled NGOs for Nongstoin Block is NSSS and for Mawshynrut is DAWN. The Chief Minister along with local MLA Macmillan Byrsat handed over cheques to PGs. A total of 36 Producer Groups were given support under the FOCUS programme amounting Rs 21,95,000. During his day-long visit to the district, the Chief Minister also inspected the Nongstoin - Wahkaji and Nongstoin - Nongkhnum road.