With vexed boundary dispute issue between Assam and Meghalaya continues to linger over four decades, convener of Mait Shaphrang Movement, Michael Syiem has suggested the need to impose a border tax for helping the government to raise additional police battalions to protect the borders of the state.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Syiem said even as the state NGOs and the different political parties keep crying out for a permanent border solution every time Assam encroach the borders, Meghalaya with a disadvantaged cadre system and a small police force continues to lose precious land.
“So, apart from pursuing with the central government to bifurcate the joint IAS, IPS cadre, which it has implemented for the other Northeastern states, the other practical solution will be to strengthen the financial resources of the state by imposing a border tax to help raise additional police battalions specifically to protect our borders,” he said.
Syiem said a minimum tax of Rs 100 for every house owner and Rs 50 for every tenant per month in Shillong, Jowai, and Tura, slightly lower rates for other district headquarters and rural households with higher slabs for private educational institutions and industries, will bring adequate funds for the government to raise the required force.
“These are just suggestions but I’m sure the government will be able to mobilize additional funds through other revenue-generating sources in the state,” he added.
According to him, ever since the state achieved its statehood but with no properly demarcated boundaries, it has been having problems with neighbouring Assam from where Meghalaya was carved out.
Being a relatively older state with more police battalions and a joint cadre where they enjoy seniority, they are in a habit of constantly bullying Meghalaya in the border areas through repeated encroachments, Syiem stated.