Shillong, Sept. 29: The United Democratic Party (UDP) today termed Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma’s tirade against the Opposition on the ongoing inner-line permit imbroglio as complete “nonsense” while asking the Congress leader to “build bridges instead of walls” to resolve the current impasse.
On Sangma’s recent statement where he had deduced that the Opposition parties were responsible for adding “fuel to the fire” in the current ILP imbroglio, UDP president Donkupar Roy chose to hit back at the chief minister. “His (Sangma) statement was a complete nonsense, and childish. Since its inception, the UDP has never been working with pressure groups to create trouble in the state. In fact, our party has always worked towards peace,” Roy, who is also the leader of the Opposition, told reporters this evening at his official residence.
He also said Sangma should not shift his own “failure” to the Opposition parties and should work towards resolving the current stalemate. “There should be a dialogue between the government and the groups. The chief minister should build bridges instead of walls,” he added.
Recently, the chief minister, while reacting to a query had said: “If you are looking at the rhetoric from various directions, particularly from the Opposition, I have reasons to believe they (Opposition) are adding fuel to the fire. I have reasons to believe they must be in close contact with these agitating pressure groups.”
The groups, who are demanding implementation of the ILP system as a mechanism to curb influx and illegal immigration, have announced a fresh agitation programme.
Federation of Khasi-Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) information secretary Eldie Lyngdoh said night road blockades will be observed on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The timings for each of the days would be from 8pm till 5am.
On the ILP demand, Roy said the existing mechanisms have not been enough to check influx and illegal immigration. “That is why the demand for ILP has been made. Maybe this will also not be the end as the situation may change,” he added. On whether the tenancy law that the government is contemplating to bring in will help curb influx, he said: “While we have not seen the bill yet, but all tenancy laws in the country have been made to protect the tenants.”
At the same time, he informed that the Opposition Meghalaya People’s Front (MPF) would be meeting tomorrow evening to have a detailed discussion on the stalemate, which is haunting the state.
UDP working president Paul Lyngdoh also reacted to Sangma’s statement. The chief minister had said Lyngdoh never spoke about the ILP when he was in government. “I don’t need a certificate from him (Sangma) on what I had done. It is up to political analysts and historians to do that,” Lyngdoh said. “Being in the Opposition and he (Sangma) being in the government, it is but natural that we are political rivals. But Sangma should be more careful with his enemies and not his rivals. His enemies are within the Congress itself.” He said if the work permit scheme had been implemented properly, half of the state’s problems would have been solved.
Lyngdoh reminded that it was during his tenure as chairman of the cabinet sub-committee on influx in 2004 that a decision was made to amend the rules of the Inter-State Workmen Migrant Act, 1979 and to also implement the same to check the inflow of migrant labourers.
Decisions were also made to strengthen the labour department by purchasing vehicles for labour inspectors, and sanctioning creation of more labour inspector posts, he added.