Meghalaya Cabinet approves settlement agreement with ANVC

Meghalaya Cabinet today approved the 'settlement agreement' of Garo hills-based militant outfit Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), and gave its nod to provide more power to Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC).

"We have approved the settlement agreement and expect that the Union Cabinet approves the proposal of the state government," Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told reporters after the Cabinet meeting here.

At a tripartite held on January five to end peace talks successfully, the Meghalaya government had conceded 13 demands of the ANVC that had been fighting for a separate state in the Garo region.

One of the key demands of the ANVC is the creation of a Garoland Autonomous Council on the lines of the Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam. However, the Meghalaya government did not agree to it and instead expressed willingness to provide more power to the existing Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC).

Besides GHADC, the Cabinet today also approved more power to two more autonomous district councils in the Khasi and Jaintia hills region, Sangma said.

The name and jurisdiction of Councils would remain the same but fund flow to these councils and their responsibility over some departments would be added.

The Chief Minister said his government would constitute a committee with representatives from the state government, the Home Ministry, autonomous district councils concerned and the ANVC on the expansion of powers and responsibilities.

The ANVC is on ceasefire agreement with the state and central governments since July, 2004.