Shillong, March 7: Meghalaya governor Krishan Kant Paul today noted that the state faces “serious problems” of influx from Bangladeshi nationals while pointing to the rising trend in crimes against women and children.
Paul made the observations during his address to the Assembly on the opening day of the budget session.
“Meghalaya, which has a 443-km international border with Bangladesh, faces serious problems of influx. The government is committed to completing the border fencing on the international border at a fast pace. Situation on the border has largely remained peaceful because of improved relations with our neighbour,” Paul said.
He pointed out that in 2013, the Meghalaya police had detected 4,137 “illegal migrants”.
Of these, 169 were prosecuted, and 3,968 were sent back directly.
He said crime was well “under control”, and the state, on an average, registers 257 criminal cases per month, of which theft is predominant. “However, there is a rising trend in crimes against women and children. It has been noted that such crimes have registered an increase by 23.14 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012,” he said.
Owing to the rise in crimes against women and children, the government is considering entrusting a study to North Eastern Hill University (Nehu) with the participation of all stakeholders.
At the same time, he said a number of measures have been taken to prevent, detect and investigate crimes against women and children.
“The prosecutions of such cases are now being taken up in fast track courts/special court. Anti-human trafficking units have been set up at Shillong and Tura. Capacity building of police officers and men has been undertaken to sensitise them on this important issue,” Paul said.
Moreover, he informed the Assembly that all cases of crime against women and children are being treated as “special report” cases, which are supervised by senior police officers.
He also said the law and order situation has been “stable and under control” over the last one year.
“The internal security scenario in the state has been, by and large, satisfactory and the state police, with the assistance of the CRPF, did a commendable job in containing the activities of various militant outfits,” Paul said.
However, he said the increased activities of the GNLA and its growing influence in Garo hills and parts of West Khasi Hills is a matter of “serious concern”.
“The activities of the HNLC have seen a decline during the past one year because of the constant pressure mounted by the state police and their movement and activities are confined to certain areas along the Indo-Bangladesh border,” he added.
He also said in 2013, 108 militants were arrested, 19 militants had surrendered, and large quantities of arms and ammunition seized.
To restore peace in Garo hills, he said the government has been making concerted efforts.
“The settlement with ANVC has reached the final stages of approval by the Centre. The state government is keen on getting this done before the elections to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council. It is with this intent that the term of the current council has been extended by six months,” the governor said.
However, he said the police would be firm in dealing with the elements that indulge in unlawful activities.
The government, he said, would continue to engage in a sustained dialogue with agitating groups in order to find solutions to such problems.
The governor also informed the House that the state had achieved a growth rate of 8.1 per cent during the Eleventh Plan and that the growth was sustained in the first year of the Twelfth Plan period.
The tentative Plan outlay for 2014-15 has been fixed at Rs 4,545 crore, he said.