KSU’s conditional support to rail in Shillong

SHILLONG: While Garo Hills has been finally brought on the railway map of the country, the Khasi Students Union (KSU), which has all along stone-walled the railway project in Khasi-Jaintia Hills, on Saturday said that it would not oppose railway in Shillong provided that a foolproof mechanism is adopted to keep check on the entry of illegal immigrants into Meghalaya.

“We will welcome the induction of railways in Shillong but the government must convince and satisfy the local people that they will not be swamped by illegal immigrants,” KSU president Daniel Khyriem said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Friday said that that the actual journey of the train would start only after the installation of entry and exit points at Mendipathar railway station. The installation of entry and exit points is a part of the State government’s proposed mechanism to check influx.

However, KSU is not taking CM’s words as convincing. Khyriem said that the there is a lot of difference in saying and doing it and added that first let us see how the proposed mechanism works while making it abundantly clear that KSU is not in a hurry to give its consent to railways in Shillong.

“Our people need to be saved and we don’t want a situation like Assam and Tripura,” he said while adding that the in the last meeting held in 2012, Chief Minister had made it clear that Government would not introduce railways without addressing the concerns of the NGOS

“The Government at first has to discuss the railway project with NGOs and people of the state or else there will be opposition,” Khyriem asserted.

According to Khyriem, the NGOs had asked the Government in its recent meeting to empower the traditional bodies to check and verify illegal immigrants besides the NGOs had also asked for certain amendments to the labour permits which is issued to labourers as NGOs want the Government to issue permit to labourers individually even as he said that the NGOs had also raised the matter of Benami transaction.

“There are many suggestions which we had made but till date State Government has not solved the issues,” he said.

Though projects such as Byrnihat-Shillong railway project, Tetelia-Byrnihat and even connecting Jaintia Hills were conceived long earlier but till date the projects have remained a non-starter.

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