Implement permit system in Meghalaya, says panel

Shillong, Oct 17 : The inner line permit (ILP) system, required by Indian citizens to enter Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, should be introduced in Meghalaya as well to check the influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, a government panel has recommended.

The committee on influx, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Bindo M. Lanong, made the recommendation to the Mukul Sangma government Monday.

“We have unanimously decided to recommend to the (Meghalaya) government to introduce the ILP system to check to check the influx and illegal immigrants in the state,” Lanong told journalists.

Lanong chaired a meeting with ministers, chief executive members of three district councils, representatives from the apex bodies of traditional institutions and NGOs and deliberated on the demands of the social organisations to implement the ILP.

The ILP is issued under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, by the state governments.

The mandate of the Lanong committee is to review the situation of influx in the state and to suggest a multi-pronged strategy and a practical approach to tackle the problem.

“Although alternative proposals were made such as implementation of three-tier card system, a consensus decision emerged on the need to introduce Inner Line Permit system in the state,” Lanong informed.

Before drafting the proposal on ILP, the committee will also examine the report of the fact finding team on ILP constituted in 2001 during the tenure of late chief minister Evansius Kek Mawlong, Lanong said.

Chief Minister Sangma, who had earlier admitted that the entry of illegal immigrants into the state was alarming, said the state would have a “more stringent institutionalised mechanism” than the ILP.

“When I visited certain parts of the state, I could see that the local indigenous people have been outnumbered by the people from outside the state,” he said.

“The problem of influx has been plaguing the state for three decades and if the government is seriously concerned with the issue, they should implement the ILP in the state,” said Joe Marwein, president of the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP).

“The influx of illegal immigrants in the state is not only alarming in areas bordering Bangladesh and inter-state border with Assam but the immigrants have outnumbered the indigenous tribals in certain areas in Shillong as well,” he said