Monday, June 24, 2024
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Govt-NGOs meeting fails to break ice

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Opposition to State rail project

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: A meeting between the State Government with the NGOs over the proposed rail project in the State ended with a consensus here on Thursday.

The meeting was an attempt by the State Government to impress upon the NGOs the need to start the railway project connecting Byrnihat with Shillong at the earliest.

However, both the KSU and FKGP were adamant that unless there is a fool proof system in place to check influx they would not agree to the proposed railhead in Khasi Hills.

Talking to reporters after the meeting on Thursday, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said that the Government was committed to putting Meghalaya on the railway map of the country even though it was equally committed to addressing the concerns raised by the NGOs.

“To address the issue of influx, which is the major issue concerning the NGOs, the Government requires setting up a system for checking of influx on a permanent basis.

“We are also committed to bring some kind of legislation to bring about an effective system to check the influx problem in the State,” Dr Sangma said.

Advocating the need to introduce railway in the State, the Chief Minister said that since Meghalaya is completely dependent on road transport, the cost of goods has gone high thereby creating additional burden for the common man.

Moreover, lack of railways has also affected the farmers who want to send their produce outside the State, Dr Sangma said.

He also said that large number of trucks plying through the State, carrying goods including coal, is also choking the road adding to the traffic congestion and all these issues can be addressed once railways become a reality in the State.

He, however, said the meeting was not a complete failure as the NGOs were open to further discussions.

Meanwhile, KSU president Samuel Jyrwa said that they would not allow the proposed railway project to take off unless the Government puts in place a fool proof mechanism to check influx.

Maintaining that they were not against the railway project in the State, he said that they were mainly concerned about the overall interest of the local indigenous population of the State.

Jyrwa also claimed that even though the State Government had issued notification for the labourers working in the State to register themselves with the respective deputy commissioners and other designated authorities, there has been a lukewarm response to this since there is no follow up on the part of the government.

“The work permit system has not taken off as desired and the government needs to impress upon the respective magistrates to ensure proper implementation of the syatem,” KSU general secretary Hamlet Dohling said.

FKJGP president Emlang Lyttan hinted that the inner line permit system could be an effective mechanism to contain influx.

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