Rymbui moots panel to look into border seizures

SHILLONG, March 21: UDP MLA and former Home Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui on Tuesday suggested that a committee may be constituted to look into the confiscation or seizure of essential commodities or agricultural produce by the BSF while they are transported to Dawki and Muktapur markets.
Mooting the idea while participating in the general discussion on the Governor’s address during the Budget session of the Assembly, Rymbui pointed out that an SDO (Civil), Magistrate or Extra Assistant Commissioner (EAC) can head the committee to verify if any item confiscated or seized is really meant to be smuggled or it is for local consumption before filing a case with the Custom department.
According to him, the members of the committee can be drawn from the Custom, BSF and villagers.
Rymbui flagged the difficulties faced by the local villagers due to objection of the BSF to carrying essential commodities or agricultural produce in the border areas.
“Many of the times essential commodities and agricultural produce are confiscated and cases were filed with the Custom department. We are not here to defend the people who are involved in illegal activities but to protect the genuine people who are carrying out their livelihood,” the UDP MLA from Amlarem said.
He told the House that people are procuring essential commodities for sale at Dawki market from Shillong and Guwahati.
Elaborating on the plight of the locals, Rymbui said there are two BSF check points before reaching Dawki — one at Pongkung and the other at Umsyiem.
According to him, people are subject to undue harassment for bringing goods from Jowai and Amlarem to transport to Muktapur market. He said the goods are confiscated and charged for smuggling.
“There were many instances due to miscommunication and other things people faced undue harassment and the same with Muktapur market people who bring commodities from Jowai and Amlarem,” he said, while underlining the need to nurture a sense of belonging among the border residents by tackling this issue.
On the other hand, the UDP MLA has suggested that the government should find an alternative land for the proposed central jail, and not build it at New Shillong Township.
“The government should look at alternative land somewhere since the NST should strictly be for residential office and other related development,” Rymbui said.
The Amlarem MLA has also nudged the state government to pursue with the Centre to continue with the Maulana Azad Fellowship scheme as there is a move to withdraw it this year.
According to him, the minorities’ students are getting benefit to pursue their higher studies through his fellowship scheme.
“We can urge upon the Centre to continue with the scheme atleast for the Northeastern region so that minority (section) from this region could benefit from this scheme,” he said.
Bringing another issue to the notice of the government on the floor of the House, Rymbui said that the farmers who are involved in the plantation of areca nut right from Rattacherra to Garo Hills region are facing difficulties to transport their produce outside the state.
“I would like to urge upon the state to facilitate the transportation of areca nut for the benefit of the farmers in the rural areas,” he added.

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