Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and others pose with the representatives of the commonwealth member countries in Guwahati | Lok Sabha

Speaker Lok Sabha, Om Birla inaugurated the mid-year executive committee meeting of the commonwealth parliamentary association (CPA) in presence of Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at Assam legislative assembly in Guwahati on April 9.

Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: “In seven-decade-old Indian parliamentary democratic setup, today is indeed a historic day. It is for the first time that the mid-year executive committee meeting of the commonwealth parliamentary association is being held in India. I feel immensely proud that the CPA Assam state branch has got the historic opportunity to host this landmark event at the precinct of the Assam legislative assembly which is one among the many public institutions that have an enduring influence on the lives of the people of the entire north-eastern region.”

While welcoming the speaker of the Lok Sabha Om Birla to the event, the CM extended his profound thankfulness to him for giving this state a rare opportunity to host this very significant event.

CM Sarma said that he felt immensely delighted to welcome 53 member countries covering all nine regions of CPA to the conference either physically or through virtual mode.

“Assam is indeed proud and delighted to have the members in the state,” he said.

While representatives from member countries including the United Kingdom, Ghana, Malaysia, Australia, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Barbados, Singapore and India have come all the way to Assam to take part in this event, representatives from the rest of the countries have joined this event virtually.

The chief minister said: “At this momentous occasion, I am pleased to inform you that our state being the largest among eight Northeastern states of India is blessed with a large variety of natural resources and very rich bio-diversity. Assam is home to the famous one-horned rhino at Kaziranga and other national parks which have a variety of wild lives. Our state is nurtured by one of the greatest rivers in the world, Brahmaputra. Assam tea is famous throughout the world and there are around 850 tea gardens in our state. The petroleum industry in India started at Digboi in Assam and we have today four refineries and significant petroleum as well as natural gas reserves.”

“Moreover, in the democratic set-up of our country, Assam legislative assembly, where this CPA meet is being held, is one of the oldest in India, second only to Uttar Pradesh assembly. Prior to India’s independence, the whole of today’s Northeastern region of India, barring the present states of Manipur and Tripura, which were then princely states, constituted the Assam province, with Shillong as the capital.”

“The Assam legislative assembly, which was initially a bicameral legislature comprising a legislative council and a legislative assembly came into being under the Government of India Act, 1935. The elected members of the assembly first met on April 7, 1937. In 1972, the state capital was shifted from Shillong to Dispur and since then, the proceedings of the Assam legislative assembly have continued here.”

Speaker Lok Sabha Om Birla gave the inaugural address at the event.

Acting chairperson of CPA, Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP, UK enumerated several path-breaking initiatives of CPA and hoped that the deliberations of the mid-year commonwealth parliamentary association executive committee in Guwahati would go a long way in shaping strategies for global issues.

Speaker of Assam legislative assembly, Biswajit Daimary, delivered the vote of thanks.

CPA executive committee met physically in Guwahati after three years due to the COVID pandemic. Altogether 53 delegates from commonwealth countries participated in the meeting physically and virtually.

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