Demolition of site for Meghalaya Assembly stayed

Shillong: Meghalaya's plan to construct its Assembly complex suffered yet another setback as the Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court has admitted a PIL and even stayed the demolition process of Taraghar, a 138-year-old house.

The High Powered Committee (HPC) of the state government had approved the site for constructing the new Assembly complex, a move which was opposed by an NGO, the Informed Conscious and Responsible Existence (ICARE).

The house originally belonged to Major F T Pollock who had dug the famous Ward's Lake in the city and which was subsequently used as the Chief Minister's bungalow.

The old and historical Assembly building at Khyndailad in the heart of the city was gutted in an inferno on January 9, 2001.

Issuing the stay order yesterday, Justice Vaiphei and Justice P K Saikia said, "In the meantime, no demolition of Tara Ghar will be done," and directed the state government to take steps for expansion of the city which is already overcrowded in another petition.

December 3 and December 12 have been fixed for the next hearings.

In the PIL, ICARE president Toki Blah demanded that the house should be declared as a 'heritage site' in compliance with the Meghalaya Heritage Act, 2012.

"The government's decision to demolish the bungalow is against the provisions of rules of executive business of the state government. The government has not consulted various concerned departments like Urban Affairs and Forest and Environment department before handing over the land to the Assembly Secretariat," Blah said in his PIL.