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Saturday, April 13, 2024

KHADC rejects railway project in Ri Bhoi over fear of influx

The decision came after the council convened a meeting with traditional heads of the area following repeated requests from the government to issue an NOC to acquire land for the project

SHILLONG:

The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has decided not to give consent for the laying of railway line in Ri Bhoi district fearing influx.

“We have unanimously decided not to give our consent for land acquisition for implementation of the railway project in the region. The reason being the fear of influx,” said KHADC chief Titosstarwell Chyne after convening a meeting with the traditional heads of the area on the issue, on February 4.

Informing that the council was compelled to hold the consultative meeting following repeated requests from the state government to issue an NOC to acquire over 47,676.63 square meters of land for implementation of the railway project in the district. The proposed land falls under Lumnongrim village, Pahamlang village, and Rongna village in the district.

“We are only a small tribe compared to the other tribes in the country. That is why we feel that if railway line comes there will be lots of influx. Even now, when there is no railway line in the region, we have seen the youth concerned about the indigenous population being outnumbered due to the unabated influx into the state,” Chyne said.

Chyne said that is why the council has been demanding the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) and other mechanisms to protect the indigenous population.

“Therefore (in the absence of these mechanisms), we feel that, at present, the question of railway line does not arise in our region,” the CEM said, adding that it is the council’s prerogative to protect the interest of the indigenous people of the region.

On the stand of the council with regards to the goods train, the KHADC chief said at present the requirement of the state government is very clear that it wants to implement the railway line in the district. “They have not mentioned whether it is a goods or passenger train but the council will stick to its principle of nor allowing any railway line in the district,” he added. Whether the council would grant NOC if ILP is implemented in the state, Chyne said the council will discuss when that time comes.

There are 16 land owners within the area of 47,676.63 sq meters of land – Lamunte Syiem (3580.32 sq m), Indra Lingo (5007.20 sq m), Luner Bella Dkhar (7656.74 sq m), Patsha Tangsang (6749.55 sq m), Laloo Rongpei (4297.70 sq m), Mongol Lyngdoh (2607.15 sq m), Phakoni Ronghang (468.12 sq m), Phukan Timung (749.88 sq m), Stanwel Suting (4422.00 sq m), Bangal Taron (6766.84 sq m), Village Committee (630.64 sq m), Mathew Kylla (1093.32 sq m), Amul Kylla (1478.63 sq m), Mela Ram (169.10 sq m), Binanda Timung (447.02 sq m and BB Rohayn (551.87 sq m).

It may be mentioned that the Centre has proposed two railways’ projects in the state – one 22-km Tetelia-Byrnihat tracks and another 108-km Byrnihat-Shillong line.

The Tetelia-Byrnihat project will be implemented at a cost of Rs 496 crore. However, these projects have faced roadblocks due to strong opposition from different quarters apprehending influx.

ALSO READ: KHADC opposes village council

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