Voices raised against Govt’s move to acquire land for NST

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Leading NGOs of the State including the KSU, CSWO, FKJGP and four Rangbah Shnong have opposed a proposal of the State Government to acquire land in certain villages as part of the expansion plan for the New Shillong Township.

The NGOs and the Rangbah Shnong have shot off a petition to Union Minister for Tribal Affairs V Kishore Chandra Deo seeking his intervention in the matter while appealing him to halt the indiscriminate acquisition of land belonging to the raid (community) in East Khasi Hills.

The delegation also met East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Goyal on Monday to brief him on the matter.

According to the NGOs, the move of the Government to acquire land is a violation of not only the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution but even the Meghalaya Land Transfer Act, 1971.

The opposition to the land acquisition surfaced after the Government expressed its intention of acquiring 2000 acres of land in New Shillong Township to decongest the capital city.

The NGOs and Rangbah Shnong are of the view that the land belonging to the Raid has forest cover which supports the lives and livelihood of the people living in these areas and these are being destroyed in the name of development.

The petition to the Union Minister also reminded that 45 acres of land was acquired in the past and illegally transferred to the IAS Officers’ Housing Society at the rate of Rs one per square feet in gross violation of the Meghalaya Land Transfer Act, 1971.

The delegation also said that the Government is intending to acquire 6284153.05 square metres of land in Umsohlang-Umtung, Nongkharai-Synrem, Jopngksih and Mawpdang and another 965173.23 square metres of land in Wahskheh.

“We oppose the move of the Government to snatch away people’s land and livelihood in the name of development and of creating a New Shillong Township, a plan which is unjust and unfeasible given that it will cause hardship to the people inhabiting the villages in these areas and involve misuse of funds,” the petition to the Union Minister stated.