Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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State Govt unruffled by Bill: KHADC

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MDCs opposed to National Land Acquisition Bill

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: KHNAM MDC Adelbert Nongrum has lambasted the State Government for not taking any action on the draft of the proposed National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011.

The Union Ministry of Rural Development had sent a copy of the draft Bill to the State Government for soliciting its views, suggestions and opinions on this proposed legislation as it would have larger ramifications on the land owned by the local indigenous people of the State, Nongrum said while moving a motion on the impact of this Bill on the customary rights of the indigenous Khasi Tribe Land Holding System during the Council Winter Session on Thursday.

He said that the Union Ministry has asked the respective state governments to submit their views and suggestions within August 31 last.

“We are surprised that the State Government is yet to seek the views of the three Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in the State which are the custodians of the land and resources of the indigenous tribals of the State,” Nongrum said, adding that this attitude of the Government clearly suggest that is not bothered if the land of the local people is exploited with the coming of this proposed Bill.

The KHNAM MDC has suggested that the Council should submit a joint representation of all the three ADCs to the Union Government opposing the implementation of this Bill in the Six Scheduled Areas.

HSPDP MDC Enbin K Raswai said that this Bill is a threat to the local indigenous people of the State.

Even though there is a provision in this Bill for resettlement of displaced people, he said that nothing can be worse than people being displaced from their own land.

“Since our people in the rural areas are not averse to selling out their land because the compensation offered is very attractive this legislation could result in land alienation on large scale,” Raswai said.

The HSPDP MDC said what is worrying is that there is no mention about where the people would be resettled after they are displaced.

“There are strong possibilities that the local indigenous people of the State would be resettled in Bihar. If such a thing happens then we would be a community nearing extinction,” he said. While strongly opposed to the proposed Bill, NCP MDC Teilinia Thangkhiew however said that this proposed Bill also emphasizes on the need for urbanization and modernization.

“But we would not want urbanization at the expense of our land,” she said, adding that the land value would increase by 25 to 35 per cent as per the proposed Bill.

The increase in the land value would tempt the local people to sell out their land as they have no vision for the future and this is not acceptable, Thangkhiew added.

Meanwhile, KHNAM MDC Latiplang Kharkongor said that the Councils should succumb to pressure to accept this proposed Bill.

“Jammu and Kashmir by virtue of their special status have been exempted from the application of this Bill by the Centre, Kharkongor said.

“We need to understand Jammu and Kashmir joined the Indian Union as per the Instrument of Accession like Meghalaya. In view of this Meghalaya too should be given special status by exempting the application of this proposed Bill,” he said.

In reply, KHADC Executive Member in charge Land Irin Lyngdoh informed that the Council has constituted a sub-committee to study the proposed Bill.

Trading license issue resounds in Council

KHADC Executive Member in charge Trade Antonio War was cornered by UDP MDC Embhah Syiemlieh for issuing trading licenses to non-tribal traders who failed to submit the mandatory documents for availing of the license, during Question Hour of the Council Winter Session on Thursday.

Syiemlieh revealed that as per the documents available with him, there are hundreds of non-tribal traders who have availed trading licenses from the Trade department without submitting the mandatory documents.

Citing examples, he said that proprietor of Star Cereal Limited Raja Mohan Khanduri had availed trading license without submitting any documents.

UDP MDC also cited another example where one R Thakkar was given a trading license only by submitting the residential certificate issued by the Jhalupara Village Council Headman.

Syiemlieh maintains that to avail a trading license it is mandatory to submit the No Objection Certificate from the respective Dorbar Shnong and other relevant documents.

“I strongly demand an independent inquiry to investigate into this entire controversy,” he said.

Replying to the allegations, War said he would cancel the trading licenses if the allegations are true.

The EM Trade however rejected the demand for an independent inquiry into this matter.

“I would like the department to investigate the matter” War said.

Meanwhile, he informed that the Council had so far issued a total of 6748 trading licenses.

According to War, the total number of trading licenses issued in the past three years were 476 (2009-2010), 511 (2010-2011) and 393 (till date this year).

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