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Monday, June 24, 2024

Railways will only benefit outsiders, add influx: Jaintia group

The group president said the minister has given his assurance to the delegation that he along with Sutnga-Saipung MLA Santa Mary Shylla would soon call a meeting with all stakeholders to discuss the issue after seeking a clarification from the government.

SHILLONG:

The Jaintia National Council (JNC) on Thursday met cabinet minister and legislator from Khliehriat Kyrmen Shylla and expressed strong opposition against the government’s move to bring in railways to East Jaintia Hills.

JNC president Sambormi Lyngdoh told reporters after the meeting that the group had sought a clarification from Shylla on the recent statement of the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma that the government has the intention to bring a railway line to East Jaintia Hills.

“We have expressed strong opposition against this move to bring either goods trains or passenger trains,” he said.

The group president said the minister has given his assurance to the delegation that he along with Sutnga-Saipung MLA Santa Mary Shylla would soon call a meeting with all stakeholders to discuss the issue after seeking a clarification from the government.

“However, we want to send a clear message that we will not accept the railway line and that the state government should be advised to focus more on improving road connectivity and ensure more development including schools and colleges in the entire district,” Lyngdoh said.

When asked for the reason behind the opposing the railway line, the JNC president said, “This is because we understand that the railways will benefit the people from outside the state. Introduction of goods train will only affect the people of the region. For example, if vegetables are being brought from outside, it will only affect the farmers and suppliers from Khasi-Jaintia Hills.”

“Also, the fact is that East Jaintia Hills has many cement factories and coke plants. If we welcome the railways, it will only benefit the factories as it would be easier for them to supply limestone and coal outside the state and this will affect local people owning trucks for supplying these raw materials. Therefore, the intention of the government to bring railways is to benefit people from outside the state,” he added.

Lyngdoh further said that the goods train can also be a means to bring influx into the state.

“We have seen that despite infiltration check gates being set up along the highways, the influx can still manage to give them a slip and enter the state. If we accept the railways, it will make it easier for the influx to enter the state.”

He added that moreover, the state of Meghalaya does not have effective mechanisms to check the unabated influx.

“In 2016, the state government passed the Meghalaya Residents, Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) but till now this is yet to be implemented. Forget about ILP because to implement ILP, the state needs approval of the Centre government. Despite this, the state government is not coming up with effective laws,” he said.

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