| Chief minister Mukul Sangma speaks during the Assembly session in Shillong on Thursday and (right) Paul Lyngdoh at the Assembly. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, Sept. 6: The Meghalaya government today assured the Assembly that it would examine the demand to bifurcate the current joint cadre of IAS, IPS and IFS officers of Assam and Meghalaya.
The assurance came in the course of chief minister Mukul Sangma’s reply to a motion on the need for ensuring security and protection of people living along the border areas of Meghalaya and Assam, and also on the international border with Bangladesh.
United Democratic Party (UDP) legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit tabled the motion on the second day of the autumn session.
“We will properly examine the demand although the joint cadre system has its own advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is that we can now see a better synergy between officers of the two states,” Sangma, who is also the leader of the House, said.
For more than 20 years now, the demand for bifurcating the joint cadre system has been raised by several groups including political parties, as they see the present system as one of the main factors behind the inability to resolve the long-pending boundary dispute with Assam.
Sangma also said his government would examine a suggestion to provide incentives to those officers and employees who are willing to serve in far-flung villages along the inter-state and international borders.
For the purpose of facilitating villagers along the inter-state boundary to get their land registered with the Meghalaya government, Sangma said the administration would take up measures to bring the villagers closer to the authorities.
While taking part in the discussion on the motion, UDP legislator Paul Lyngdoh said if the joint cadre system shared between Manipur and Tripura could be bifurcated, Meghalaya should also make a move to demand for the same system shared with Assam.
“There is a need for the state of Meghalaya to have its own cadre of officers. When states that have emerged in 1972 have reached a point that they can have a separate cadre, Meghalaya, which also came into being in 1972, can have a separate cadre. The state should fight to have its own cadre,” Lyngdoh said.
Recently, the Lok Sabha gave its nod to a bill to bifurcate the civil services cadre of Manipur and Tripura.
Lyngdoh said the government should have a dedicated police battalion for protecting the border areas to ensure the security of the people.
On the other hand, while highlighting security measures for the areas along the inter-state and international border, the chief minister said the government has decided to set up 17 police stations in such areas in the eastern region of the state.
Sangma reiterated that his government would continue to aggressively pursue with Assam about the inter-state border dispute to ensure that the future generation is not left with the problem.
While moving the motion, Basaiawmoit said there were three main tasks before the government — to ensure protection, safety and security for the people living on the border areas, to get back those areas captured illegally by Assam and prevents further encroachment.
Leader of the Opposition Conrad K. Sangma said the state government should set up an inter-state border department to liaison with various departments for developing the border areas.
The three major areas of dispute between Assam and Meghalaya are Block I in Jaintia Hills, North Cachar Hills districts, Block II in Ri Bhoi, Karbi Anglong district and Langpih along West Khasi Hills-Kamrup (rural) districts.
Meghalaya shares a 696km-boundary line with Assam while the international border with Bangladesh is 443km.
Railway line by 2013
Shillong will witness a railway line by March 2018, the Assembly was informed today.
Replying to a question posed by UDP legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, state transport minister Abu Taher Mondal said a railway line from Byrnihat in Ri Bhoi district to Shillong has been sanctioned.
According to Mondal, the railway line will cover areas like Sohkhwai, Lailad, Nongpoh, Mawkynda, Umtasor, Nongsder, Kyrdemkulai, Umroi, Umpling, Mawsaipa and New Shillong.
Groups like the Khasi Students' Union (KSU) and also some NGOs have been opposing the idea of bringing in railways into the state, fearing unabated influx.