Meghalaya welcomes FDI in retail, mining

SHILLONG, Oct 18 – Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today welcomed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail and mining.

“FDI in retail would help in doing away with middlemen and benefit the farmers, who form 80 per cent of the population and also the consumers,” Sangma said at the sideline of a workshop on National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP) here.

In the mining sector, Meghalaya is already having French cement-manufacturing giant, Lafarge investing substantially in the State. Sangma said that FDI in mining has been there for years. The Meghalaya mining policy, which has been approved recently, has also welcomed FDI, provided local interests are not hurt.

In the retail sector, though, none of the towns in this hill State qualifies for FDI as the population is below one million. Nonetheless, Sangma hoped that the policy would be changed so that smaller States like Meghalaya too get the benefit of FDI in retail.

He said FDI would also help structuring the investment in the State in terms of having high trade standards and also in providing employment and technology transfer. He said that farmers produce would get the facility of cold storages and this would lead to less wastage and better prices for the growers.

The Chief Minister said that the Investment and Industrial Policy of the State is being revised and once adopted would help the farmers and would also shift its focus from the Byrnihat industrial area to far-flung regions like the bordering areas near Bangladesh.

He said that some of the industrial units in Byrnihat area have been found to have violated the industrial policy and there would be suitable regulations in the new policy.

As of now, the Land Transfer Act has been put on hold and it would be set in motion once the industrial policy is finalised. This was done to “correct the behaviour” of some industrial units in Byrnihat, he added.