NGOs oppose Government decision to de-sanction the construction of entry-point at Umling under Ri Bhoi district

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Registering strong opposition against the decision of the state Government to de-sanction the construction of the much awaited entry-point at Umling under Ri Bhoi district, the conglomeration of NGOs comprising of the KSU, GSU, FKJGP, HNYF, AYWO, HNYF, RBYF and ADE expressed their dissentient, dissatisfaction and anguish at this sudden U-Turn by the Government of Meghalaya.

The NGOs in a joint statement on Friday said, “Such a blatant act depicted the insincerity of the state government in solving the complex influx issue which had been plaguing the state even before its inception.”

In a letter issued by the Under Secretary of the Tourism department, T Lyngdoh on September 29, the decision to de-sanction the administrative approval for construction of the entry-point at Umling came to light.

“In compliance with the decision of the Empowered Sanctioning Committee contained in the minutes of the meeting held on 23.9.2020, the previous administrative approval amounting to Rs 15,92,81,000 for construction of facilitation centre (entry-point) at Umling, Ri Bhoi district conveyed vide sanction order bearing No.Tourism 43/2019/35, dated 13.3.2020 may please be treated as cancelled. This has the order of the competent authority,” stated the letter addressed to the Principal AG (Audit) CASS Section, Shillong.

The NGOs further asserted that time and again they have demanded a time frame for the full completion of the entry and exit points, especially those included in the first phase, from the government.

“However the government seems to dilly dally and cannot give a clear picture with this contentious issue and suddenly out of the blue, it de-sanctioned the entry point at Umling. The NGOs wondered if this is an initial move to do away with all the proposed entry and exit points in the state,” they said.

Asking the Government if it is committed in addressing the influx issue? The NGOs further threaten to take up the matter into their own hands.

“Because if this is the situation then the NGOs will be compelled to react so as to ensure that the microscopic indigenous communities are not engulfed by major immigrant communities,” the statement also warned.

It may be mentioned that the setting up of the entry-exit points have been made mandatory by the Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act 2016, which was passed after a prolonged and thorough negotiations and deliberations between the successive governments led by Dr Mukul Sangma and the present government led by Conrad K Sangma.

The Act seeks to regulate and monitor the entry and exit of outsiders into the state before the Centre’s nod to implement the much demanded Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 or ILP, which is a prime demand of the NGOs dating back to as early as 1985.

Similarly the MRSSA also as per the rules will prevent and detect illegal entry and settlement of outsiders inside the already affected state of Meghalaya by massive immigration since 1971. It also penalizes the violators as per the Act, they said.

Meanwhile, expressing strong resentment over the unabated influx in the state, the NGOs warned that they had been patient for a long time; the time has come for them to adopt stringent measures to counter the unabated influx.

While focusing on the Inner Line Permit (ILP) issue, the NGOs also demanded to know about the status of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) resolution adopted by the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on December 19 last year. They also asked if there are any ongoing talks with the central government since the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah in his meeting held with government delegation had categorically stated that things will be resolved after Christmas for Meghalaya.