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Tura, Feb 24: Work into one of the biggest water supply projects ever to be launched in South Garo Hills has begun with Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K. Sangma laying the foundation for the Greater Baghmara Water Supply Project that will benefit not just the district headquarters but also a large rural population stretching as far as 16 villages comprising of thousands of inhabitants.

The chief minister laid the base for the multi-crore project on Wednesday at Baghmara in the presence of PHE Minister, Renikton Lyngdoh and state legislators, Thomas Sangma, Samuel Sangma and Rakkam A Sangma among other dignitaries.

 The project is jointly funded by Central and State share i.e, the Ministry of DoNER, Government of India through NESIDS at Rs. 4,754.00 Lakhs (Rupees Forty-Seven Crores Fifty Four Lakhs) and the Government of Meghalaya through the State’s Resources at Rs. 1,596.00 Lakhs (Rupees Fifteen Crores Ninety-Six Lakhs), the total estimated cost is Rs. 6,350.00 Lakhs (Rupees Sixty Three Crores Fifty Lakhs).

Elated with the start of the project, the Chief Minister said, “This is an ambitious Project of our Government, and we are thrilled to lay the foundation for such an ambitious project which will go a long way in providing potable drinking water to the citizens of Baghmara town and 16 en route villages. This is the MDA fulfilling its promise to the people of South Garo Hills District”.

He expressed sadness over years of neglect to districts like South Garo Hills and assured the gathering that the aim of the MDA Government is to ensure every kind of development work is provided to these Districts which were deprived for years.

“South Garo Hills contribute one of the highest revenues to our State because of its forest cover, mines, and minerals yet, it is one of the most neglected districts and that is why in the span of my visits to the districts, I made it a point to change its course by the sanctioning of various projects to uplift the district,” said Conrad Sangma.

Asserting his commitment to the District, the Chief Minister further added, “Laying of the foundation is not the end and I am personally committed to the completion of what we start. We will see the projects through by monitoring them on a regular basis”.

The Greater Baghmara Water Supply Scheme will provide adequate water supply to Baghmara town and 16 en route villages viz., Rewak Kambepal, Rewak, Rongchekgiri, Kharukol Adinggiri, Kharukol Jaligiri, Kharukol Konagittim, Chigichakgiri, Goka Songmong, Kharukol Tainang, Goka Wachol, Masighat, Dabigiri, Balkal Watregittim, Rongrengpal, Tainang Songmong, and Badri Jaisrugittim.

With the source for the Scheme being the Rongdong stream, the scheme intends to cover the present population of 25676 and an ultimate population of 63335. The number of households proposed to be covered by the Project area is 2340.

The scope of work includes the construction of RCC weir, Supply, and Laying of 200mm dia MS pipe Gravity Main (34.50Km), construction of a Conventional Type Treatment Plant and the construction of the Main Clear Water Reservoir.

The 1st installment of Rs 10 Crores for the project was released in January 2021. The Tender for the same was invited in the same month and opened on February 2021. Allotment of work shall be made on receipt of Administrative approval from the State for which the proposal has been sent to the Government on 13.01.2021. The target for completion of the project is 2 years.

Meghalaya PHE Minister, Renikton Lyngdoh in his address said, “As members of the MDA Government, we are extremely happy to come to Baghmara to bring good news to the people about this project. We were here a few months ago to announce the Baghmara College project and we are glad to be here again to bring another project for the benefit of the people”.

Speaking on the necessity of water the PHE Minister commented, “Water is life. It not only nourishes us and our vegetables and plants but, we need water in the execution of most projects like Swachh Bharat and in the maintenance of cleanliness”.

At the same event, the Chief Minister kicked-off the year-long celebration of 50 years of Meghalaya’s Statehood by inaugurating the 5th Baghmara Challenge, Inter-Club Basketball Tournament at the Baghmara Sports Complex and also attended the Audiovisual Exhibition on the ‘Road to 50’ curated by The Northeast India AV Archive which is part of the celebration.

Speaking on the subject, the Chief Minister commented, “We must remember the sacrifices made by our leaders because of which we are blessed with the State of Meghalaya. Younger generations tend to forget the contributions made by such leaders. We must remind ourselves of their contribution to inspire us to take on what they have started and continue it for our State”.

Siju- Rongara MLA, Rakkam A Sangma said, “It is befitting that the Government has launched the year-long celebration of the 50th year of Statehood from Baghmara, the birthplace of the 1st Chief Minister of Meghalaya”. He also proposed that on the culmination of the celebration on 21st January 2022, Baghmara should hold a Mega Cultural and Sporting event to mark the occasion.

North Tura MLA, Thomas A. Sangma said that the MDA Government has initiated various development projects for South Garo Hills, including, the widening and improvement of the Tura-Dalu-Baghmara road, which will reduce the time of travel and encourage visitors to explore the vast tourism potential of the region.

Also, commenting on the 50th Statehood celebrations, Thomas A. Sangma said, “Baghmara is the birthplace of Captain Sangma, the architect of Meghalaya. The celebration of ‘The Road to Fifty’ from Baghmara is befitting for the State”. He also urged the youth to learn the ancient and traditional practices of the Garos, so that the rich and diverse culture of the tribe is preserved.

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