GNLA ‘firmly checked’, assures govt

SHILLONG: Assam is yet to respond to the plea of Meghalaya to resume electrification of two villages in Langpih area which was stopped by the neighbouring state.
The matter was raised by Congress member Kimfa Syndney Marbaniang representing Rambrai Jyrngam constituency by way of a zero hour notice in the Assembly on Tuesday.
Marbaniang said he had visited the area to understand the situation and it was known that Assam police had obstructed carrying out electrical works in two villages in Langpih.
The legislator said as per the agreement in the past, Assam should not have obstructed the development works.
In reply, Power Minister James Sangma said Meghalaya is implementing the village electrification scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana in the state under which two villages of West Khasi Hills district, Mawdiangsnam and Umyiap under the disputed area of Langpih polling station, are included.
The Assam police on February 25 had stopped the works in the two villages and also threatened to arrest the labourers, Sangma said.
The Executive Engineer (Rural Electrification), Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL), Nongstoin, had reported the incident to the West Khasi Hills DC on February 28 and as instructed by the DC, the executive engineer, along with his officers, the magistrate of Mawshynrut Block and police personnel, had visited the site on March 16 leading to the resumption of works. “However, the works were again interrupted by the Assam police and in spite of negotiation by the executive magistrate, West Khasi Hills, the police did not allow works to continue,” Sangma said.
Efforts were made to restart the electrification works again on March 17, but in vain, the minister said, adding that the Assam police had informed on March 19 that the officials from Assam will visit Langpih for a joint inspection, but none of the officials turned up. On March 20, efforts were made to restart the work, which was again halted and the labourers refused to work due to intimidation, Sangma added.
The deputy commissioner had reported the matter to the government and a discreet inquiry had been conducted by the Megha1aya police.
The police probe was also to verify the veracity of the incident that occurred at Umwali near Langpih on March 23 and it was confirmed from the Sardar of Umwali village that the District Administration of Kamrup, Assam, had stopped the construction of electric line by the Meghalaya government and three labourers were taken to Langpih outpost, but they were later released unconditionally.
Earlier on March 22, the deputy commissioner had taken up the matter with his counterpart in Kamrup. On March 29, the chief secretary also took up the matter with his Assam counterpart requesting that suitable instructions be issued to the Assam police to allow completion of the electrification works in the two villages that are being implemented by Meghalaya.
“A positive response is expected from the Assam government soon which will ensure a safe and secure atmosphere for labourers to resume the work,” Sangma said.