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Meghalaya panel endorses ILP

Shillong, Dec. 4: The high-level committee on influx, which met here today under the chairmanship of deputy chief minister Bindo M. Lanong, will exclusively recommend implementing the inner line permit (ILP) system in Meghalaya to safeguard the indigenous community from the onslaught of illegal migrants.

Another school of thought, however, favours the three-tier identity card system to tackle the influx of “foreigners”.

“The consensus of today’s sitting was in favour of introduction of ILP. But there are some members who have also aired their opinion over and above the ILP, and the government can also go ahead in thinking and implementing the three-tier identity card system,” Lanong declared after the committee met for the last time at the state secretariat.

ILP is already in place in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Under this system, any Indian citizen — who does not reside in these states — needs a permit from the authorities to enter the state.

The recommendation, which will be sent to the government within this week, will pitch for the introduction of ILP although the views on the three-tier identity card system will form part of the main report of the committee.

Lanong admitted that there was pressure from NGOs to recommend the introduction of ILP system to the government and not any other mechanism, including the three-tier identity card system.

The committee’s unanimous recommendation could put chief minister Mukul Sangma in a fix because he has never been in favour of the ILP system.

In August, the chief minister had told reporters: “If I am trying to enter Meghalaya as an illegal immigrant or as an intruder or to operate some crime, I will cleverly plan my itinerary how to avoid those areas (where check points exist). What we need is a mechanism to have a complete mapping of people staying in each and every locality. This is what we are planning to do. It is a much more effective mechanism than ILP.”

The high-level committee comprises four cabinet ministers, the three chiefs of the autonomous district councils, three legislators, one representative each from among the traditional heads (nokmas, syiems and dolois), three members from civil society and three representatives from 10 NGOs.

The committee was formed in September and had held at least four rounds of talks before unanimously settling on the idea of ILP to fight against influx.