Meghalaya project to revamp rural life

Chief minister Mukul Sangma today launched the Meghalaya livelihoods and access to markets project (Megha-LAMP), which seeks to improve family incomes and quality of life in the rural areas.

By Our correspondent in Shilong
  • Published 4.09.15
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Mukul Sangma launches the project in Shillong on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos

Shillong, Sept. 3: Chief minister Mukul Sangma today launched the Meghalaya livelihoods and access to markets project (Megha-LAMP), which seeks to improve family incomes and quality of life in the rural areas.

The project is a statewide initiative, which focuses on developing markets and value chains for sustainable livelihoods and ensures these livelihoods are adapted to Meghalaya's geographical context and to the effects of climate change.

Megha-LAMP is being implemented as part of the integrated basin development and livelihoods programme (IBDLP) and is assisted by the international fund for agricultural development (IFAD).

The project budget for Megha-LAMP is $174 million. Of this, $50 million is loan assistance with technical assistance from IFAD, $50 million from the Meghalaya government and the remainder will be in the form of bank loans, convergence funds and some contribution from participating households.

In his address, Sangma expressed happiness that the "most important" agenda of the government was to empower the people and this was being supplemented through the launch of the programme.

He said Megha-LAMP would develop 47,000 enterprises set up by rural communities across all the 39 blocks of the state. The project will also establish 54 value chains and livelihood clusters across 18 blocks, touching a total of 1,40,000 households with an effort to include poorer households, women and the socially excluded.

Sangma said Megha-LAMP would create infrastructure for 55 primary markets across Meghalaya, enhance rural connectivity for village clusters and producers through the creation of 250km of eco-friendly roads, 20 submersible bridges and 10 ropeways across the target areas.

Moreover, he said, there was a need to empower people so that they could take care of their social needs and necessities of food, clothing and shelter. #

He said he believed that the programme and other initiatives of the government to harness the potential of natural resources and to create sustainable livelihood would make a difference in the lives of one-third of the population and foster a sense of well-being.

Meghalaya's principal secretary Pankaj Jain said there are three components under Megha-LAMP - natural resource management and food security, enterprise and livelihoods development, and knowledge management.

He said the key interventions of Megha-LAMP would be to identify profitable opportunities, focus on cash crops, identify climate viable enterprise and catalyse support from other government departments for livelihood activities.

Chief secretary Barkos Warjri said this was the third project from IFAD in the benefit of Meghalaya. It would strengthen the objectives of the basin development programme.

IFAD Mission Leader Edward Mallorie said Megha-LAMP could be an international best practice as it is based on an institutional set up, is demand driven and community driven.