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Meghalaya mulls permit options
- ILP or three-tier I-card on anvil

Shillong, Nov. 15: The Meghalaya government will be offered with at least two mechanisms — the inner-line permit (ILP) system and the three-tier identity card systemto check unabated infiltration of illegal migrants into the state.

Although deputy chief minister Bindo M. Lanong, who heads the high-level committee on influx, said there was “consensus” for the introduction of ILP, the idea of a three-tier identity card system will also be proposed to the government.

“We have come to the conclusion that we will recommend the introduction of the ILP in the state for protecting the state from illegal migrants,” Lanong told reporters after the committee had deliberated for more than four hours.

At the same time, he said, the option for introducing the identity card system will also be included in the recommendations. “It will then depend on the government, which one to implement,” Lanong added.

He also said it would be left to the government to decide whether the ILP will be introduced throughout the state or in selected areas.

Further, it would be recommended that Garo hills should be brought within the ambit of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

The ILP was introduced in some parts of the Northeast by the British under this regulation. It was amended in 1897, keeping the entire Garo hills region out of the purview of the regulation, implying that the ILP was not applicable to the western parts of Meghalaya.

Hitherto, the ILP is in place in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Under the system, any Indian citizen, not a resident of these states, needs a permit from the authorities to enter the state.

Dwelling on the identity card system, a proposal brought forward by former IAS officer Toki Blah, Lanong said the card would be for permanent, semi-permanent and temporary citizens.

The permanent identity card, which will be green in colour, will be for all the permanent citizens of the state, with 1971 as the cut off year. Permanent citizens will be identified by the local durbar shnong of every locality but it would be left to the respective deputy commissioners to confirm and provide the final seal of approval.

The semi-permanent blue cards will be issued through respective deputy commissioners or through a central server. The cards, which are renewable, will be for those who visit the state for work-related purposes.

The temporary cards, to be in red, will be issued to tourists, business executives and contractors. The cards will be for a short period and disbursed through the entry points at the border areas and through Meghalaya House located in some metro cities.

Lanong reminded that a working group, headed by then legislator T.H. Rangad, in 1999 had found it difficult to go all out for the implementation of the ILP in the state. He said the committee had favoured the introduction of the three-tier identity card system.

The committee will meet again on December 4 to approve the final draft of recommendations before presenting them to the state government.