Meghalaya to implement work permit

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Shillong, Oct 14: The Meghalaya government has decided to implement the work permit system to deal with the bourgeoning problems of migrant workers in the state.

''We have decided to issue work permits to inter-state migrants from December to prevent influx of foreigners and outside labourers into the state,'' Urban Affairs Minister and government spokesman Paul Lyngdoh said.

The inter-state migrants will now have to register themselves with the respective District Councils and issuance of work permits for the labourers.

''The permits have to be renewed in every 179 days so that they cannot claim the rights of permanent residency - as per the existing laws any Indian citizen, who resides at place for over six months, may apply for permanent residency,'' Mr Lyngdoh said.

''The work permit will prevent labourers coming from outside the state to get voting rights in Meghalaya,'' Mr Lyngdoh said, adding that the work permit would discourage workers from outside the state to register as voters in the state.

''It is very difficult to distinguish between genuine citizens and illegal immigrants coming from Assam in search of jobs to Meghalaya,'' the Urban Affairs Minister said.

Assam has a huge population of suspected Bangladeshis - about 80 lakh - and a large number of these people come in search of work to Meghalaya especially the coal belt regions in the state.

''We do not want the indigenous people of the state to face the same situation prevailing in Assam,'' the former student leader-turned politician said.

The Khasi Students Union and the Garo Students Union, which had been asking for stringent measures against the influx of foreigners and outside labourers into the state, said the government could not afford to neglect the issue anymore, as the influx of foreigners not only threatens identity but also the national security.

''The threat from illegal migrants, especially the Bangladeshi jehadis, is now more evident than ever before,'' KSU president Samuel Jyrwa said.

Both the student's unions had been demanding for stringent measures against the influx of foreigners and outside labourers into the state.


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