Once a haven for militancy during the dark days of insurgency that plagued Garo Hills for close to two decades that brought development to a standstill, Chokpot sub-division in South Garo Hills has been able to turn itself around despite years of strife and the state government on Friday announced a slew of developmental packages for the region.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who was on a two-day tour to the district met with the government sponsored FOCUS producers group of the region and distributed financial packages. He rounded up his visit at Chokpot, by holding a farmers rally and participated in a trade fair organised by women self help groups of Chokpot region.
“Several works are already underway for the Chokpot region and more than Rs 100 crore infrastructure development projects have been sanctioned. These include the construction of the Chokpot Water Supply Scheme, a government guest house, a new building for the civil sub-division and a pitched road from West Garo Hills’ 12th mile all the way to Chokpot,” announced Sangma.
He also distributed cheques amounting to Rs 1.2 crore to a total of 170 producer groups of Chokpot to upscale their farming and entrepreneurial activities.
Later, while attending the SHG mela at Chokpot ground, the chief minister handed over financial assistance to the tune of Rs 1.1 crore to 29 village organisations and SHGs and lauded the role of the women led SHG movement which is empowering enterprising women at the grassroot level.
Clean Cookstoves under the CSR initiative of the Global Himalayan Expedition were also distributed to beneficiaries at the programme.
Giving a detailed talk about the government’s FOCUS programme (Farmers Collectivization for Upscaling Production and Marketing System), the chief minister told the public that the vision of the MDA government is to upscale the livelihood of the farmers.
This is the first of its kind programme initiated by the state government to uphold and uplift the economic status of the farmers and the FOCUS programme is expected to benefit over 4.5 lakh farmers in the state.
“This programme was conceptualised by the state govt taking into consideration the economic hardship that the farming community had to face due to the pandemic. Through this programme the farmers are grouped together as farmers collective- “Producers Groups” and financial assistance of 5000 each to each member in the group is provided and the funds can be used as seed money for upscaling farming activities,” said the chief minister.
An estimated Rs 200 crore has been earmarked for this inclusive farmers programme, according to the government.
The state government has also introduced various funding options to encourage entrepreneurial activities, wherein interest-free loans are being provided to the people and the chief minister urged the public to take advantage of the welfare initiatives
launched by the government while motivating people to form Self Help Groups and Cooperative Societies to avail the benefits of the schemes.