NGOs call for a public debate with Ampareen on NST

Exercise restraint, Donkupar tells Govt

SHILLONG: As the government has made it clear that it would go ahead with land acquisition process for the New Shillong Township project despite opposition from several quarters including the land owners, leader of the Opposition Dr Donkupar Roy has suggested the MUA II to exercise restraint.

Speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of a book release programme, Dr Roy, who is the president of UDP, said, “We understand that the government needs land for the NST. But it should not use force to acquire it.”

He felt that the State Government should take the consent of land owners and elders of the villages and the Hima before going ahead with the land acquisition process.

The State Government’s plan to acquire 2000 acres of land for the NST to decongest Shillong city received a major hurdle when several NGOs and residents expressed their stiff opposition to the plan fearing that it would lead to large scale influx of illegal immigrants into the state.

The New Shillong Township envisages accommodating a population of 2 lakh and so far 370.26 hectares of land has been acquired at a cost of Rs. 33.73 crore for the project.

There have been claims and counter claims over the ownership of the land which the government proposes to acquire.

Meanwhile, to put the issue of land acquisition in public domain, the NGOs, which are opposed to the land acquisition process, have called for an “open public debate” with the Urban Affairs minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on the issue.

The NGOs include KSU, FKJGP, CSWO, KWADA, HNYF, TUR and others.

“We would request the Minister to arrange the venue and time for the public debate as per her convenience,” Freedom Project member Angela Rangad told reporters here on Thursday.

She said the Minister appeared confused and ill informed and yet had been trying to justify the forceful land acquisition for the NST.

She said that they would urge the Minister to come along with her Commissioner Secretary and other officials to take part in the debate, which should be televised so that the people would get the actual information on this issue.

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