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148 families in Harijan Colony are illegal settlers, HYC claims

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The youth body meets Prestone Tynsong with data received via RTI

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, April 29: The Hynniewtrep Youth Council has through an RTI application found that 148 of the 342 families of the Harijan Colony are illegal settlers.
The government claimed they were families of employees of the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) or the Urban Affairs Department.
“After receiving the RTI reply from the SMB, we were shocked to learn that out of the 342 families that were supposed to be shifted, only 195 families have either a single or two members as employees of the board or other government departments and 148 had no employees in any department. They work in private firms or are religious or social workers and teachers,” HYC president Roy Kupar Synrem said after meeting Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on Monday.
“We have been clear when we raised the issue with the High-Level Committee chaired by the Deputy CM that we have no problems with the shifting of employees to the quarters constructed for them but we will not allow land or houses to be given to those families who are not government employees,” he said.
Synrem said the HYC shared the RTI findings with Tynsong. “He was shocked too, because the SMB in its affidavit before the High Court of Meghalaya said that these 342 families have members working with the SMB, Urban Affairs, and other departments. He was under the impression all 342 families were of government employees,” he added.
The HYC president said Tynsong told them he would seek clarifications from the SMB and Urban Affairs Department to determine if the SMB provided wrong information to the high court or the High-Level Committee.
“We told the government that we will oppose even one house or dwelling unit to be allotted to any illegal settler,” Synrem said.
He also said that the RTI revealed the government published no advertisements to fill up the vacancies in the SMB.
“We found through the RTI that most of the (Harijan Colony) residents in government jobs were appointed on compassionate grounds as their grandfathers and fathers were employees. We raised an objection as all the appointments, even during 2017-2020, were made without any advertisement for the posts,” Synrem said.
“Our people can now do the same work they are doing. Of course, our people were unwilling in the past but nowadays, with the problem of unemployment, the youth are willing to do these jobs. If the government keeps on appointing these people then our people will not get a chance to work in the SMB,” he said.
“We urged the Deputy CM to give proper direction to the Urban Affairs Department so that vacancies in the board are properly advertised for,” he said.

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