Meghalaya govt says no to ILP, groups call bandh

The Meghalaya government struck down a proposal from pressure groups in the state to implement the Inner Liner Permit to curb influx with the latter.

Shillong: The Meghalaya government on Thursday struck down a proposal from pressure groups in the state to implement the Inner Liner Permit (ILP) to curb influx with the latter calling for a bandh on Monday.

The dialogue between the government and the pressure groups which lasted over an hour here ended with both sides refusing to change their stance on the issue.

Federation of Khasi-Jaintia & Garo People (FKJGP) president Joe Marwein told the chief minister, his cabinet ministers, government officials and journalists that the pressure groups had come to the meeting with a single mind of seeking implementation of ILP.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on the other hand declared that the Congress did not promise to implement the ILP in its 2013 Assembly Election manifesto.

He also said the ILP cannot be implemented in Meghalaya as in 1897, the Garo Hills region had been left out of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

The groups later announced a 12-hour bandh next Monday from 5 am to 5 pm in the entire state.

Marwein said influx had been discussed at all levels in the government and even pointed out that the high-level committee on influx constituted by the previous government had batted that the ILP was the best mechanism to tackle this issue.

"If the government wants to implement the ILP, we will stay on with the discussion else we will walk out from this room," Marwein said.

Giving an indication to reject their proposal, Sangma said the ILP would create a negative perception about the state.

He said there were already enough existing laws and mechanisms to check influx and illegal immigration while bringing out figures to indicate that the population of other groups of people in the state has not shown any major upward trend.

Citing a 2011 census, Sangma said the tribal population was 86.15 percent as compared to the percentage of the non-indigenous population which stood at 13 percent only.

The Chief Minister sought the pressure groups to cooperate and tackle the issue of influx and illegal immigration together with the government and informed that the government was drafting a bill to regulate the tenancy system which would go a long way in curbing influx and illegal immigration.

Highlighting the government`s initiative to curb influx, he said anti-infiltration directorate has been established apart from appointing labour inspectors in all the 39 rural blocks.

"Why not bring together the several laws, mechanisms and institutions, which are meant to tackle a single issue, under a single integrated banner or law and call it the ILP," another leader representing the pressure groups Sadon Blah said.


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