Indian Railways can help develop Meghalaya: Paswan

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Shillong, Feb 27 (UNI) Union Chemical and Fertilisers Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said Indian Railways can chug Meghalaya towards development by creating new jobs and help solve unemployment and subsequently militancy problems.

Talking to newspersons, on the sidelines of an election rally of his party here, Mr Paswan, also the Lok Janashakti (LJP) Party President, said 'unemployment' was the root cause of militancy in the state.

''Unemployment is the root cause of militancy in Meghalaya.

However, if Railways come here it would definitely help create new job opportunities in the state, which in turn help contain militancy,'' the LJP president stated.

The Indian Railways is the world's largest commercial employer with an estimated 1.6 million employees.

Expressing his failure to bring Railways to Meghalaya when he was the Railways minister in 1996, Paswan said, there were a lot of misgivings towards the proposal at that time and so the plan was shelved.

''I tried to bring Railways to Meghalaya as the then Union Railways Minister, but it never materialised,'' he said, adding that people must be first taken into confidence convincing them that their tradition and customs would be preserved at all cost before embarking on big plans.

In Meghalaya, connectivity has remained a major hurdle towards development of this landlocked state. The state is connected to the rest of the world by two main National Highways 44 and 40.

The LJP president also deplored the poor condition of women in the state, despite it practising a matrilineal system. '' There is no reservation for women in the State Assembly,'' he said.

He assured, if his party was voted to power, it would reserve seats for women in the Assembly.

The LJP has fielded 18 candidates, including four women, for the March 3 Assembly polls.

The banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has called a 12-hour bandh protesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit today.

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