Meghalaya seeks Centre's intervention on Assam's encroachment

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Shillong, May 30 (UNI) The Meghalaya government today sought the Centre's intervention in the proposed visit of two Assam Ministers to lay a foundation stone at Langpih, which ''belongs'' to Meghalaya, even as the Cabinet has strongly opposed Assam's ''encroachment'' inside Meghalaya territory.

''Meghalaya Chief Minister Donkupar Roy in a telephonic conversation with Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta sought an advice that Mr Gupta suggest the Assam government to put a stop from laying the foundation stone of a Health Sub-Centre, Inspection Bungalow and residential quarters for Forest Guards at Langpih,'' Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

Assam Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Forest and Environment Minister Rockybul Hussain are scheduled to lay the foundation stone of a Health Sub-Centre, Inspection Bungalow and residential quarters for Forest Guards at Langpih tomorrow.

Assam, the Meghalaya government maintained, has illegally occupied Langpih bordering Kamrup district.

The Cabinet, which discussed at length on Assam's encroaching Meghalaya territory, decided to appoint an Additional District Magistrate and Registration Officers in all the districts, bordering Assam, whose duty would be to look after the areas.

''The task of the registration officer is to register the land of the indeginous people residing inside the state, bordering Assam, at a nominal rate to prevent people from registering the land with Assam,'' Mr Lyngdoh said.

Besides, the Urban Affairs Minister said, the state government would announced a slew of economic development package in all villages bordering Assam, which he claimed the previous government had failed to do.

Deputy Chief Minister Hoping Stone Lyngdoh, who is also a local MLA of the area, said Meghalaya has also asked Mr Gogoi to clarify the intentions of the government in building the three set ups in the Meghalayan territory.

In fact, the Synjuk Ki Khlieh Nongsynshar (traditional institution heads) of Langpih area has called for a 24-hour bandh, at 0500 hrs, which will end at 0500 hrs tomorrow to prevent the two Assam Ministers from entering Langpih area.

Apart, from the civil society protests, the Meghalaya government has also sent two platoons of police to the nearby area.

The Meghalaya Chief Minister said, ''If Assam wants to help the people of Langpih with a sense of charity, we have no objection.

But if the foundation stone is being laid with the intention to strengthen claims over the area, then the state government here will object.'' Langpih has a total of 74 villages of Garo and Khasi people.

''Constitutionally and also by official documentation the land belongs to Meghalaya,'' Dr Roy informed.

He said Assam encroached into the area way back in 1979 and is now pushing in new settlers, which is not acceptable to the people of Meghalaya.

UNI RRK LL LPB NS1647

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