GNC eye on “illegal settlers” in border village

Council team to visit Umpha soon to gauge situation

GUWAHATI: The Garo National Council (Kamrup district unit) is closely monitoring developments at Umpha, a border village where “people from Meghalaya” have allegedly settled over the past one year or so.

In this regard, the Bongaon block level committee under Chaygaon Assembly constituency in Kamrup district had called a meeting recently at Umthli, a remote village about 15km from Umpha, to take opinions from representatives of 25 hamlets of the area.

Speaking to The Shillong Times on Sunday, GNC Kamrup district president, Anindra Marak said that there was a consensus among the villagers in the meeting that the “illegal settlers from Meghalaya” have to be told to return to their state.

“Umpha would be more than 100 years old but owing to lack of development and poor communication many families have relocated to places like Umthli (10km away) and Ukiam several decades back. Only about four households, of which two are Khasi, have stayed there since long,” Marak said.

“Now we have information that the Khasi families had about a year back invited about 15 families from Nongstoin and Shillong to settle in the village and there is apprehension that more could be on their way,” he said.

The GNC president said that a team from the council would soon visit the hamlet to get a first-hand perspective and thereafter take a call on what needed to be done.

“The road to Umpha from Ukiam is hardly motorable during the rainy season. Once the weather improves, we will pay a visit to the area to understand how grave the issue is and thereafter inform the authorities accordingly,” Marak said.  

It may be mentioned that a joint team of Assam police and district administration had embarked on an eviction drive at Bokochara, another remote border village, on May 31 last, dismantling about six huts allegedly constructed by “settlers from Meghalaya”.

The GNC Kamrup district unit had prior to the eviction drive visited the hamlet and reportedly brought the matter to the notice of the authorities.

“The situation in Umpha may not be as serious till now. But nothing can be taken for granted for which we are monitoring the developments there,” he said.

Kamrup (rural) district of Assam shares a border with West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. The two states have 12 disputed areas, including Langpih (known as Lampi in Assam), which Meghalaya claims to be part of West Khasi Hills.  

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