By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Following the failure of the State Government to comply with its assurance to implement the work permit system within a period of three months, several prominent NGOs which are part of the Committee on Influx have decided to call night road blockades on September 13 and 14 from 7 pm to 5 am in four districts – East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Ri-Bhoi – as a protest measure.
The NGOs comprising of KSU, FKJGP, JSU, JYF, CSWO, RBYF, KWWADA among others, have also decided to organise meetings in the various district headquarters and in Shillong to apprise the people on the urgent need to implement the work permit system to check the problem of influx in the State.
“We feel this decision of the Government for setting up of a separate Infiltration Directorate is only an eye-wash. We are not sure when this would materialise,” KSU president Samuel Jyrwa told reporters after the meeting on Thursday.
He said that the NGOs were clear on their demand that the State Government should implement the work permit system as assured earlier. “We have been continuously pursuing this for the past 13 to 14 years. This time we are not going to fall into the trap of the delaying tactics of the Government,” Jyrwa said.
Meanwhile, FKJGP general secretary said that even after the expiry of the deadline by the NGOs to the government on August 31, the government has not mentioned when the work permit system would be implemented.
The State Cabinet in 2008 had approved the Amendment to the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Regulation Act, 1979 (Amended in 1985), to give more powers to the law-enforcing agencies to check influx and regulate the employment of migrants in the State.
The Amendment was aimed at taking more stringent measures to deal with the issue of influx and also to monitor whether the employers strictly adhere to the labour rules when they employ the migrant workers.
The proposed work permit scheme is based on the Amended Inter-State Migrant Workmen Regulation Act.
However Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma told recently that since the BDOs are overburdended, a Labour Inspector with other support staff will be appointed in all the 39 blocks of the State under the Infiltration Directorate.
According to the work permit system, the SPs and OCs of State police will verify the documents of migrant workers before the officials of the Labour department, block development officers and district magistrates issue the work permits.
The criminal antecedents of the workers will also be verified at the time of the application for work permit.
The work permit will be valid only for 179 days, one day short of six months, to deny voting rights to the migrant labourers who come to the State.
The rules say a person residing anywhere in India for six months is entitled to voting rights.
Hence, the work permit proposed by Meghalaya will be valid only for 179 days and needs to be renewed after this period, which will prevent any labourer from becoming a permanent resident of the State.