VAB delay: CM seeks MHA intervention

Chief Minister Mukul M Sangma and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh
during their meeting in New Delhi on Sunday. (MIPR)

SHILLONG: Under pressure from the headmen, Chief Minister Mukul M Sangma on Sunday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the latter’s residence to discuss the pending assent of the Governor to the two Bills on village administration passed and submitted by the KHADC and the JHADC, besides issues pertaining to the State.
After the massive rally held on Friday, the headmen threatened to storm the Main Secretariat on Thursday if the government fails to address their grievances which include the need to give assent to the Village Administration Bills, and convening a special session to address alleged loopholes in the dual post Bill, among others.
The chief minister apprised the union minister briefly on the background of the matter stating that with a view to address the vacuum created by the order of the High Court to the effect that the headmen and traditional institutions did not have the power or authority to issue residential certificates or no objection certificates for sale and transfer of property, opening of bank accounts etc., unless such powers are vested in them under a statute or rules, the State government, after consultation with various legal experts, had promulgated an Ordinance, taking great care to ensure that the Ordinance did not affect the authority or encroach into the jurisdiction of the Autonomous District Councils.
He said that the interim arrangement was urgently required at that juncture to take care of the urgent and genuine needs of the common citizens.
He also told the union minister that subsequently the two District Councils had enacted their own legislations on the matter, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Village Administration) Bill, 2014 and the Jaintia Autonomous District Council (Establishment of Elaka and Village Election, Appointment, Powers,        Functions and Jurisdiction of Dolloi/Sirdar and Waheh Shnong) Bill, 2015 which were submitted to the State government for obtaining the assent of the Governor.
He said that the Governor has referred these Bills to the Ministry of Home Affairs seeking their advice on their constitutional validity. He further informed that the perceived delay in the grant of assent to the said Bills has caused a fair amount of apprehension and anxiety among the traditional institutions questioning the intentions of the Government and the association of headmen has launched an agitation demanding immediate assent of the Governor to the Bills.
The chief minister sought the personal intervention of the union minister so that the two Bills are examined quickly and the considered views of the ministry are conveyed to the Governor of Meghalaya on utmost priority in order to enable him to take early decision on the matter of grant of assent to these Bills so that the institutions can once again work as partners with the government in maintaining law and order and bring in peace and harmony in the State.
Up gradation of State police force
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma also discussed law and order related issues with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with a special focus on the pending proposal of the State government for up gradation and strengthening of police stations in the militant infested areas of the State and the interstate border areas in phases.
The chief minister further stressed on the need to revisit the management of the international border, which will require comprehensive and integrated measures to be put in place by the Government of India and the state governments so that the international borders in the North East do not remain porous.
The home minister assured the chief minister that appropriate action would be taken in respect to these issues on top most priority.