Press Releases

16 November 2019

Press Release No. 535/19


The 4th India International Cherry Blossom Festival, organized by the Forest & Environment Department, Government of Meghalaya and Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development (IBSD), Government of India in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Government of India concluded today here at 5th Polo Ground, Shillong. The festival got underway on November 13, 2019. The closing ceremony was graced by Ambassador of Republic of Korea to India, Shin Bong-Kil as the Chief Guest and Forest & Environment Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui as the Guest of Honour.

Addressing the closing ceremony, Shin Bong-Kil said that cherry blossom is a majestic sight to see and festivals such as these reminded him of South Korea where cherry blossom marks the onset of spring season. Shin Bong-Kil also said that Republic of Korea and Meghalaya are exploring opportunities for mutual bilateral relations to promote not only tourism but also in terms of exchanging ideas on technological know-how.

Forest & Environment Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui said that earlier in a day the bilateral meet between Meghalaya and Republic of Korea was held where various issues were discussed and ideas were exchanged on socio-economic partnership.

The programme was also attended by PCCF & HoFF and Principal Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Forest & Environment Department, C.P. Marak, Additional PCCF (Social Forestry), Meghalaya, R.S. Gill, Regional Director, ICCR, Shillong, Dr. N. Munish Singh among others. During the programme, the Chief Guest, the Guest of Honour and other dignitaries handed over certificates and prizes to the winners of various competitions conducted as part of the festival.

Press Release No. 536/19


Along with the rest of the country, National Press Day was observed in the capital city, Shillong at a programme organized by the Shillong Press Club with active support of the Directorate of Information and Public Relations at Shillong Club in the city today. This year's celebration was attended by Meghalaya Information & Public Relations Minister, Shri A L Hek as Chief Guest in the presence of Founder President, Shillong Press Club, Manas Chaudhuri, Director, Information and Public Relations, B S Sohliya, Joint Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, Information and Public Relations Department P M Sangma, President of the Shillong Press Club, David O Laitphlang, government officials and members of the Press Fraternity.

During his address at the programme, Meghalaya Information and Public Relations Minister , A L Hek stated that as the fourth pillar of democracy, the role of the media has gained greater significance in an era where consumption of information continues to grow, both in urban areas as also in the far flung rural pockets of the State and Country, not only in print and audio-visual form, but also in digital form through various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and many alternative media and added that the ‘Fourth Estate’ serves as a facilitator, protector and enabler of democratic institutions and processes as it is an important component in the fabric of a functional democracy. Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Reporting- Interpretation- A Journey”, the minister spoke of the numerous challenges that the press fraternity face in respect of making a choice of determining responsibly on what to report, how to report and when to report so that the shared information can have a more positive impact and neutralize the elements that can harm the basic fabric of our nation while also stating that the challenges also include that of preserving the freedom of the press while not allowing it to be contaminated by biasness, pre-conceived or ill-intended reporting, gender based and communal misrepresentation, and evolution of an inclusive society to affirm the safety and security of media persons. In an era of fake news and misinformation, especially in the realm of social media, the minister called upon the press fraternity to play a proactive role by giving more prominence to positive stories emanating from the efforts of the Government, various other institutions and stakeholders to facilitate better understanding of the positive interventions aimed at the overall welfare of the citizens of the state and the country.

He also spoke of new media and the fact of how it has brought about a convergence between traditional, audio-visual, digital and social media and it, having become a powerful means for shaping the ideas, aspirations and behaviour of the people, even in the remotest corners of the country even as he emphasized that the media is entrusted with added responsibilities which entails them to monitor issues pertaining to public interest and giving voice to the marginalized in their efforts to shape and influence public opinion by providing objective and balanced coverage of news.

The minister also stated that the government has made considerable efforts in addressing the issues and concerns of media persons in the State of Meghalaya and more significantly in terms of financial assistance to the accredited journalists through the Journalist Welfare Scheme and informed that the government is in the process of initiating ways and means to introduce the Pension Scheme for retired working journalists of Meghalaya and also to enhance the corpus of the Journalist Welfare Scheme for the benefit of local accredited working journalists.

During the programme, an Interactive Session on the theme of the celebration was held in which Founder President, Shillong Press Club, Manas Chaudhuri, and Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times , Rizaul Hassan Laskar were the resource persons. Senior journalists who have rendered their services in the field of journalism for more than twenty five years were felicitated during the programme and prizes for the carrom board, basketball and football competitions held as part of this year’s celebration were also distributed to the winners.

It may be mentioned that National Press Day is celebrated on 16th November each year across the country and the day is symbolic of free and responsible press and is observed throughout the country by holding seminars, workshops, discussions, etc on topics relating to the press.

Press Release No. 537/19


As part of the 4th Edition of the India International Cherry Blossom Festival, a Bilateral Summit between the Republic of Korea and the Government of Meghalaya was held today at the State Convention Centre, Shillong. The summit was organized by the Government of Meghalaya and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Centre, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Institute of Bio-resources & Sustainable Development (IBSD), Government of India. The main focus of the summit was to exchange ideas on Socio Economic Partnerships and in strengthening ties between the Republic of Korea and the state of Meghalaya in key areas such as Waste management, Power & Energy Generation, Restoration of Environment particularly in areas affected by coal mining, Cultural relations, Tourism etc. Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India Mr. Shin Bong-Kil, led the delegates representing the Republic of Korea whereas the Government of Meghalaya was represented by Shri James P. K. Sangma, Minister in charge, Home, Power etc. and Shri. Lahkmen Rymbui, Minister in charge, Forest & Environment, Education etc. along with senior government officials from the departments of Forest, Mining and Geology, Urban affairs and others.

Delivering the keynote address, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to India Mr. Shin Bong-Kil, expressed his happiness at being invited by the Government of Meghalaya to attend the 4th India International Cherry Blossom Festival 2019 and he expressed his deep appreciation of the hospitality and treatment he has received from the people of the state. He informed that he has come to Shillong along with a cultural delegation consisting of a Taekwondo team, a Traditional Korean Drum Troupe and a famous K-Pop singer. He further stated that another important aspect of his visit to Shillong was to attend this Bilateral Summit which was being held on the sidelines of the festival. He said that he was accompanied by representatives from a Korean company which specializes in the fields of reclamation of abandoned mines and restoration of forest, environment and water bodies affected by coal mining and the India Head of Korea Trade Promotion-Investment Agency (KOTRA) to explore the possibilities of economic cooperation and bilateral trade and investments between the two. The Ambassador stated that half a century ago, the Republic of Korea was an underdeveloped country with very little or no technology. However, at present, it has become famous for its fast growth and power in the field of technology, ship building and steel and various other technological advancements. He further stated that he was given to understand that Meghalaya was very keen to cooperate with the Republic of Korea in areas such as reclamation of abandoned mines, restoration of water bodies etc., in which Korea has the expertise and experience to carry out the same. He shared stories of how Korea, much like Meghalaya, had faced the problem of abandoned mines, water pollution etc. and how his country acquired the technology for closure, reclamation, restoration, rehabilitation of mining affected areas and polluted rivers & water bodies. He was also extremely happy to hear that next week, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya will be leading a team of delegates from the state to visit the Republic of Korea and he says that this will further strengthen the ties between the two governments particularly in undertaking various collaborative projects.

Speaking at the summit, Shri. James K. P. Sangma shared his experiences of his recent visit to South Korea where he explored the kind of innovations and technology in which Korea has gone far ahead and established a name at the global stage. He highlighted that Meghalaya is a state rich in natural beauty with a large and diverse variety of flora and fauna and hence it is imperative to ensure that economic development in Meghalaya goes along with the preservation of its natural and living heritage and that is the cornerstone of the planning process of the Government for the state. Further, he stated that Climate change is a reality and sadly India is one of the countries most vulnerable to it. It has one of the highest densities of economic activity in the world and a very large population of economically weaker section who still rely largely on natural resources for their livelihood and a high dependence on rainfall. “With this in mind I made a visit to the Republic of South Korea to study what are the innovations and the ways forward Korea has undertaken in terms of combating climate change and energy storage sector” he quoted. Tapping the potential power generation of the state is another area where the two governments could collaborate. He believes that the summit has given them the opportunity, not just to showcase the rich tradition, culture, natural beauty and heritage of the two but it has also brought about an opportunity to partner with likeminded political, social and business leaders.

Shri. Lahkmen Rymbui, meanwhile stressed that besides building partnerships in various key sectors being discussed at the summit, the meeting could also explore possibilities of the two governments collaborating in the field of education which is also an important aspect for the overall development of the region. Various presentations and discussions were conducted during the summit on various topics such as Waste management by a Korean company - Chamhana GW Co. Ltd., Restoration of Environment affected by coal mining in Meghalaya by representatives from the Department of Mining and Geology and presentations by the Department of Forest and Environment.

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