Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said his government is keen on improving trade with Bangladesh.
Conrad, who is on a four-day visit to Bangladesh by road, said Meghalaya accounts for a mere .7 per cent of the USD 10 billion trade between India and the neighbouring country though the state shares a 443-km-long boundary with it.
The trade between Meghalaya and Bangladesh has to increase, he said.
"We share strong cultural and historical ties. Yet we have not been able to figure out how we can improve things. There is definitely a gap that we have not been paying attention to. There are very low-hanging fruits and just basic connection facilitated by meetings like these can be the solution," Conrad said in a video message.
In his meeting with the Sylhet Chamber of Commerce last night he suggested that its members visit Meghalaya and improve connectivity to ensure a hassle-free to and fro travel between Bangladesh and the state after dialogue with the Centre.
The chief minister said that the tourism sector is already moving forward and while crossing over to Bangladesh on Tuesday he had met a number of visitors from Bangladesh finishing their paperwork after their visit from nearby tourist locations in Meghalaya.
"There are small measures that need to be taken for things to improve and this connection between tour operators, hoteliers and other stakeholders will ensure that we have traffic moving both ways and allow citizens of Sylhet to visit Meghalaya and vice versa," he said.
The chief minister said that the trip to Bangladesh that he has undertaken with his colleagues is just the beginning. I encourage our tour operators to connect with each other and build the relationship. We are here to open things, to discuss, to initiate and tourism is one sector that will be a good start for our countries".
The reason why my Government decided to travel long distance by road is to connect with the people and feel what they feel and to be able to work collectively to figure out how we can take things forward, he said.
Conrad also urged the governments of India and Bangaldesh to protect and preserve the historical remains at Jaintiapur in Bangladesh, which was an important place for the Jaintia tribes before Independence.
We urge the governments of India and Bangladesh to fund the protection and preservation of Jaintiapur, which holds great history of our tribes, he said after paying a visit to Jaintiapur on Tuesday evening.
Jaintiapur was the winter capital of the erstwhile Jaintia kings and there are ruins of the palace. The Jaintia kingdom was spread across present-day Sylhet in Bangladesh and Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya. It was annexed by the British in 1835.
The Jaintia people were animists believing in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe and the society matriarchal.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)