Meghalaya Govt to Discuss Need for NRC in an All Party Meet

The Meghalaya government will hold an all-party meeting to discuss whether there is a need for an NRC-like exercise in Meghalaya.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said on Wednesday that the exercise was a humongous task and “needs extensive consultations at various levels”.

He claimed that the government could keep the situation under control following the declaration of the final draft of NRC in Assam.

Replying to a short duration discussion on the issue by P T Sawkmie (Congress), Conrad said he personally monitored the situation and coordinated with deputy commissioners and police chiefs in all districts, especially those sharing borders with Assam.

“Necessary directions were issued to the DCs to keep a watch on the registration of voters in certain areas,” he added.

On the demand for starting a similar exercise, Conrad said the state government would move in the direction of a National Register of Citizens based on the National Population Register in phases and over a period of time “by considering all pros and cons and taking all stakeholders into confidence since there are many indigenous people who don’t have necessary documentation”.

He also informed that land acquisition for setting up entry and exit points is in an advanced stage.

“The government will set up the points in phases and very critical point will be taken up initially,” he added.

Conrad has asked the Political Department to find out how the provisions of the Meghalaya Residents Safety Act can be further amended so as to give more power to traditional heads.

Also, the railway minister has agreed to Conrad’s proposal to set up an entry-exit centre at Mendipathar railway station.

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong and Home Minister James Sangma will visit the railway station after the end of the current session of the Assembly.

“There are a number of infiltration check gates along the inter-state boundary which were being manned by 252 personnel on a rotation basis,” Conrad said.

Earlier, while initiating the discussion, Sawkmie said different NGOs in the state and the region have called for NRC in all the northeastern states which “is necessary to safeguard the interests of the indigenous population”.

Leader of opposition Mukul Sangma emphasised on the implementation of the Residents Safety Act even as he said there was abnormal increase in the number of voters in certain pockets in the state prior to the last Assembly elections.

– The Shillong Times

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