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Ministers stress on cultural exchange

Shillong, Aug. 29: A group of ministers, back from a trip of Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai, has suggested that cultural exchange programmes are required to foster a healthy relationship between the people of the Northeast and those who are hosting them.

The ministers went on the trip after the exodus of Northeast students and professionals from those metros.

Power minister A.T. Mondal, general administration minister Alexander Hek and urban affairs minister Ampareen Lyngdoh were deputed by chief minister Mukul M. Sangma to visit the three places and interact with respective state government officials and people of the states.

“State government officials in Karnataka and Maharashtra have told us that cultural exchange programmes between people of the Northeast and the hosts are required to promote a healthy relationship,” Mondal told reporters.

He said students and professionals from the region need to be sensitised on the ground realities which exist in those states where they intend to dwell.

Mondal said the government would compile a database of all students and professionals from the state who are residing in other parts of the country so that timely action can be taken in times of crisis.

“As we did not have a database of the people from Meghalaya who are residing in Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune, it was difficult for us to reach out to each one of them during our recent visit. So we have decided to compile a database,” he said.

The website of the Meghalaya Integrated Information System will have a slot for online registration of people hailing from the state but are stationed outside. Hek said the government would consider setting up a Meghalaya House in Bangalore after a demand was raised by people from the state living there.

Unofficial estimates say there are around 3,000 people from Meghalaya residing in Bangalore while the Northeast population in the city is around 2.5 lakh.

As far as Maharashtra is concerned, a Meghalaya House exists in Navi Mumbai. A demand was made to have a similar house in Pune.

Ampareen said a section of the Northeast community in Bangalore felt that the Centre should step in by constructing hostels for Northeast students in the metros like it had done in New Delhi.

She also appealed to all the students and professionals who had returned from the metros to go back and carry on with their vocations as the situation is back to normal.