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Rule flout slur on Assam

Shillong, Aug. 28: The Assam government was today accused of violating the spirit of a court order by providing electricity and supplying water to villages falling within Hima Nongspung in the Ri Bhoi sector of the inter-state boundary.

In March 2010, the then Shillong bench of Gauhati High Court had directed Dispur not to construct a road from Patkang to Bakhlapara, Halher, Ranibari, Akhoinijira, New Balakhawa, Balakhawa and Bernangsai villages.

However, the Assam government recently provided electricity connections and water supply to Ranibari, Bilpara, Patkang, Halher, Bakhlapara, Lyngkhung, Jimbrikang, Hawla and Bernongsai villages under the Hima Nongspung.

“This shows that the Assam government has violated the order passed by the high court,” Hima Nongspung secretary Michael Warjri told reporters here today.

On the other hand, it was alleged that the Meghalaya government has not been providing power connection to these villages for the past year.

In 2009, Warjri had moved the then Shillong bench of Gauhati High Court against the Assam government for illegally constructing a road from Patkang to Bakhlapara on land belonging to the “raid (community) land” of Hima Nongspung.

In July 2013, the Assam government had surrendered before Meghalaya High Court and subsequently left the road construction, Warjri said.

Assam has also been accused of encroaching into Mawdongki, Chandubi, Jimputa, Supangbari, Borjuli, Iewsahep, Mem Basti and other villages of the hima since 1972.

Moreover, he said, Hima Nongspung would write to the Assam government so that the former could regain the reserve forest which is currently in Assam’s custody.

“The reserve forest, which is around 10 square km, was handed over by the hima to the British government in 1887 for plantation of trees. We want the Assam government to return the reserve forest to the hima,” Warjri said.

He said the hima would also approach a Calcutta-based firm to return a tea garden.

“We had given land to a British gentleman who was married to a Khasi woman, to start tea plantation. Now, we have learnt that the firm has taken over the tea garden since the family of the British gentleman had failed to return a loan. As the British gentleman is no longer in possession of the land, we would like to get it back,” he added.

Warjri claimed that the hima is in possession of documents to prove its ownership over the reserve forest and the tea garden.

In view of its proximity to Assam, Hima Nongspung also announced that a census would soon be conducted in all the villages under its jurisdiction, not only to ascertain the actual population, but also detect the presence of “dual voters”.