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Monday, May 27, 2024

Govt identifies land for relocation of Harijan Colony residents


It seems the issue of relocation of the residents of the Harijan Colony is nearing its end as the government informed that the land required to resettle 342 households residing in the Them Iew Mawlong has been identified.

“We have identified three-four places (for the purpose of relocation the families from Them Iew Mawlong),” said Urban Affairs Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, adding that final decision on the matter, however, will be taken in the meeting between the state government and the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) slated to be held on April 25.

Stating that the government cannot simply make them homeless without arranging for their resettlement, the Urban Affairs minister said, “Therefore, we, the government, are working to resolve the issue. We will negotiate the matter in such a manner that nobody will feel hurt and that is the intention of the government.”

Stressing on dialogue as the key to resolve the issue, the minister exuded hope that the issue will soon see its logical end. “Dialogue is a continuous process. Both sides are positive and that is a good sign (that we will be able to resolve the issue at the earliest),” said Dhar.

Earlier during the first meeting held on April 13, the state government had directed the Urban Affairs department and Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) to identify a land for relocation of the Harijans’ Colony residents from Them Iew Mawlong.

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong had also informed that the relocation has to take place as per the recommendation of the High-Level Committee and the government has requested the HPC to deliberate these developments with their community before the discussion on April 25.

On the same day, post a meeting with the deputy chief minister, HPC chairman Gurjit Singh had told the press that the government has assured them to provide a permanent land within the European ward.

As per the inventory report submitted by the Shillong Municipal Board, a total of 184 employees and their families have been identified as legal settlers, including families of 128 employees of the SMB and 56 others, who are working in the different government departments.

Notably, the HLC was constituted by the state government to find a feasible solution for the relocation of the residents of Harijans’ Colony from Them Iew Mawlong following the 2018 violent protest at Motphran.

Based on the recommendations of the HLC submitted on September 28, last year, the Meghalaya government had on October 29, taken over the land at Iew Mawlong after releasing a premium of Rs 2 crore to the Syiem of Hima Mylliem, in its bid to relocate the Harijan Colony.

The three main recommendations of the High-Level Committee include taking ownership of the land at Them Iew Mawlong, shifting of the employees of the SMB, other departments and relocation of “illegal settlers”.

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