Thursday, July 25, 2024

CM buys time on amendment to land Act


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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has said more discussions should be held before making any amendment to the Meghalaya Transfer of Land Regulation Act (MTLRA) 1971.

While admitting that there are certain loopholes in the Act, Dr Sangma has called for sensitising the people and involvement of stakeholders on the importance of preservation of tribal land.

Talking to a group of journalists here on Friday, the Chief Minister said more workshops are also need to be organised on the important issue.

A conglomerate of 13 organisations under the banner of Social Organizations of Meghalaya against Land Alienation (SOMALA) has been demanding inclusion of a new section “to combat benami system” and withdrawal of section 4(1) e and 4(1) of the MTLR Act.

On the problem of land alienation, he said, “Land alienation arises due to practice of selling land by the original owners and if this is allowed there will be a time when our people will be landless,” Dr Sangma added.

SOMALA maintains that provisions of Sec 4(1) e and 4(1) of the Act violates to a great extent the land tenure system. The organisation is also concerned over large-scale practice of “benami system” by the local people allowing outsiders to acquire land in their names.

The SOMALA wants a new section to limit the area of land which a tribal can sell to another tribal to curb the “benami” transactions.

The Chief Minister, however, said there is a law to deal with “benami” practice, but that somebody should lodge formal complaint against such cases.

 “We will scrutinise the issue and also drive a mechanism which will address the problem of ‘benami’ to ensure that tribal lands are not exploited,” he said.


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