Shillong, Sept. 5: Amid the popular demand for introduction of inner-line permit (ILP), Maitshaphrang Movement, a social organisation, today advocated a law on equitable distribution of ancestral and self-acquired properties for Khasis and Garos as a means to tackle influx and illegal immigration.
“The law should be immediately passed and all children of a family with property and wealth should be encouraged and guided to take up economic activities in a big way in all areas so that we can gradually control the economic power in the state. This will then allow us to control influx to a great extent,” the convener of Maitshaphrang Movement, Michael N. Syiem, said.
Syiem argued that an outcome of the inequitable distribution of property and the absence of a mandatory and compulsory registration of marriage law in the state have only allowed migrants to target the youngest daughters for marriage or live-in relationships.
“And because of their vast business experience, they use the youngest daughter’s wealth to further expand their business activities, and by using their wives or their live-in mistresses’ names they earn extra financial benefits by not having to pay income tax,” Syiem asserted.
Moreover, he said, after amassing enough wealth, many of these migrants desert their wives or mist-resses.
Stressing that migration resulted from economic reasons, Syiem said there is an increasing demand for more labourers in the Northeast as the states strive to bring in more and faster development. He, however, said the indigenous people, with their small population, cannot provide requisite labour force.
Therefore, he said, the quantum of labour force is being filled with legal and illegal migrants who take advantage of this opportunity to earn a higher income here than what they would have earned back home.
“When there is an opportunity to earn a better livelihood across the border, then there is no Berlin Wall, barbed wire fencing or any preventive mechanism that can stop a determined person from crossing the border legally or illegally to get that opportunity. Hence, this migration to our state,” Syiem said.
On the industrial policy, he said it should be reviewed and the indigenous people should be given the first opportunity to be trained as skilled labourers before industries are allowed to be set up.
“Economic power and an influx-control mechanism are interlinked and are immediate priorities for protecting the A’chik and Hynniewtrep people from becoming minorities in their own land,” Syiem stated.