Smriti Irani accompanied by Mukul Sangma and Kiren Rijiju inspects the apparel and garment making centre at Hatisil, Ampati on Monday

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani, along with Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, inaugurated the first ever apparel and garment making centre in Meghalaya, near Ampati in South West Garo Hills on January 30, in presence of Union minister of state for home affairs, Kiren Rijiju.

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Dedicating the centre to the people of Meghalaya, Irani said that the project was testimony to the true convergence of efforts of central and state governments. She said that the apparel centre will create employment opportunities for both men and women of the region, thereby empowering them economically.

Irani informed that the textiles ministry is implementing projects worth Rs 70 crore in sericulture and weaving sectors for Meghalaya alone. The textiles minister said that around Rs 32 crore has already been sanctioned for Meghalaya, for promotion of handlooms. She appealed to the youngsters, particularly women, to leverage their handloom legacy and become enterprising entrepreneurs. As the region is well-known for regional dyes, Irani urged upon the weavers of the state to register with India Handloom Brand, which she said can directly connect the weavers with big multinational companies.

The Union minister said that once the centre starts functioning to its full potential, it will give an indication to investors across the country that the youth of the region are ready for economic engagement and expansion.

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The sprawling apparel and garment making centre, covering an area of 45,000 sq. ft, has been set up at Hatisil near Ampati, at a cost of approximately Rs 14.26 crore, under the North East Region Textiles Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) of the ministry of textiles. The centre has three units, two of them housing 105 sewing machines each, and the third one having seventy machines.

The foundation stone for the centre was laid in 2015 by the Meghalaya chief minister, in the presence of the then Union textiles minister.

Speaking on the occasion, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma expressed confidence that the garment centre at Hatisil would grow to become the most sought-after export unit in the state. He spoke of the advantage provided by the availability of international market in neighbouring Bangladesh, and the opportunity it offers in forging business partnerships with investors of Bangladesh.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju said that the Centre has given special focus to Meghalaya, particularly Garo Hills, in creating job-oriented programmes. He added that there could not be a better programme for women than this, for promotion of textiles and handlooms in the state.

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