The U.S.-based University of California, Berkeley will adopt 100 villages in Meghalaya to start a concept of smart villages and address the issue of urban migration due to environmental issues, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said on Friday. The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering at Montreux (Switzerland), who converged for the Caux Forum, which aims to inspire, equip and connect people, groups and organisations to build a just, sustainable and peaceful world.
The State government will sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the University of California, Berkeley in September to adopt 100 villages to start the concept of smart villages in Meghalaya, Mr. Conrad said, according to an official release issued here.
Our cities are already choking and having smart villages will prevent urban migration and related environmental issues, he said.
The Chief Minister spoke highly of the States’ uniqueness in terms of land ownership, forest conservation techniques as he deliberated at the Forum.
He said, “We as a government are proud of our society and the idea of our sacred groves and living root bridges should be known to the rest of the world. My government has given importance to these indigenous knowledge and have stressed on community participation in the implementation of government programmes, he said.
With a population of about 3.3 million people, the Chief Minister said the State is known worldwide for receiving the heaviest rainfall in the world.
Another great aspect of the State is the discovery by Geologists in 2018 about the Meghalayan Age which put the State in the global spotlight, he said.
Informing that about 6,500 villages are there in Meghalaya, he said the government will ensure that the National Resource Management Plans are made through full community participation.
He also informed that there is also a special emphasis on restoration of land in more than 400 villages of the State and added that the government has linked all livelihood programmes to natural resources and are encouraging people to protect these natural resources.
I am happy to inform that this year on World Environment Day we have planted 1.2 million trees and every citizen is encouraged to plant and adopt one tree, he said.
On water scarcity, the Chief Minister said Meghalaya is one of the first States in the country to be ready with the State water policy to face the issue of water conservation and water use.
There are problems we have to address and there are also solutions, we just need to come together to talk, discuss and share and need to create goals that must permeate down to the individual level so that every individual has a goal for the development and good of the society, the nation and the world, he said.
At the 2019 Dialogue at Caux, global thought leaders and practitioners will explore how community and individual actions can reverse degradation leading to peace and stability.