'Migrants workers will now need work permit'

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Shillong, Nov 13: Under pressure from various organisations on the influx of illegal Bangladeshi migrants, the Meghalaya government has decided to implement work permits for these labourers by mid-December.

'' All migrant labourers must get a work permit issued by the labour department to work in Meghalaya,'' Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh, also the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Influx, told reporters here on Thursday, Nov 13.

The work permits would be implemented under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.

'' The work permits would be valid for 179 days, one day short of six months to prevent voting rights to them in the state. The work permits can, however, be renewed,'' he said.

The labour department together with the Deputy Commissioners, the Block Development Officers and police officials would be overseeing the implementation of the work permits by verifying first the Indian citizenship and antecedents of such workers.

On a trial basis the work permits would be introduced in coal mining areas where concentration of migrant labourers is high. Then gradually it would be introduced throughout other areas of the state.

'' Employers who engage migrant labourers must register with the government or face a two-year jail sentence and penalties,'' Mr Lyngdoh stated.

He said, ''No longer would identification documents issued by local MLAs be recognized as prove of an Indian citizen to get the work permit.'' On a trial basis the work permits would be introduced in coal mining areas where concentration of migrant labourers is high. Then gradually it would be introduced throughout other areas of the state.

'' Employers who engage migrant labourers must register with the government or face a two year jail sentence and penalties,'' the minister stated.

The issue of influx of illegal ''foreign'' migrants has determined various students' organisations and the government alike, ever since the formation of Meghalaya in 1972.

UNI

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