Meghalaya Cabinet Meeting at Tura in Garo Hills a First in State History

A day before the historic meeting, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said that the exercise would put focus on the Garo Hills.

New Delhi: For the first time in Meghalaya’s history, on June 10, the state’s cabinet ministers held an official meeting outside the capital city of Shillong, at the circuit house of Tura in the Garo Hills. Tura is the state’s second largest city, and lies in the western part of the state.

The move by the Conrad Sangma government echoes the 2017 decision taken by Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh to hold an official meeting with cabinet ministers outside Imphal for the first time in Manipur’s history.

Soon after the meeting began at around 3 pm, Sangma posted some photos on Twitter.

A day before the meeting, on June 9, Conrad spoke about its significance to the Shillong Times: “It [the meeting] is significant for the fact that it is taking place in Tura for the first time. This will give immense importance to the Garo Hills since a review of the performance of the various government departments in the region will be taken up, including a conference of all the deputy commissioners of the state.”

Monday’s meeting is likely to see the government clear a number of important files concerning the development of the state, the newspaper report had said.

Tura, notably, is also the chief minister’s hometown. Conrad had, until recently, represented the Tura Lok Sabha constituency, which was once held by his father and former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma and is now represented by his sister Agatha Sangma.

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Meghalaya comprises three geographical segments – the Khasi Hills, the Jaintia Hills and the Garo Hills. The names of the hills correspond to the three major tribes that make up the population of the state. Though the Jaintia Hills are contiguous to the Khasi Hills, where the state capital of Shillong is located, the Garo Hills, until recently, would have to be approached by road through Assam.

With Conrad, the Garo Hills have so far produced four state chief ministers, including the state’s very first chief minister, Williamson A. Sangma.