Meghalaya launches consultation on Tenants Bill

(The launch of the public…)SHILLONG: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma launched the first state-wide public consultation on the draft Meghalaya Regulation of Landlords and Verification of Tenants Bill which is aimed at curbing influx of outsiders into this north-eastern state.
Traditional village council chiefs, the major stakeholders of the proposed bill, however, boycotted the program.
The launch of the public consultation came at a time when the pro-Inner Liner Permit groups have been agitating for almost two months demanding implementation of ILP as a mechanism to curb influx as practiced in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
"This is a reflection of the space, which is available for all concerned and this space must be utilise by all concern including the pressure groups," Sangma said at the inauguration inviting all concerned citizens to air their views and suggestions for the proposed Bill.
He said, "I have always maintained that there is a mechanism which is in the spirit of democracy which must be avail by all concerned".
Urging the pro-ILP groups to end their protests and engage productively without indulging in certain activity which are not as per provision of the law, the chief minister said, "The important thing that we expect from the pressure groups is that they be matured enough to be more constructive, to be productive, keeping in mind the interest of the state as a whole and the future of the state".
Talks with the pro-ILP groups held in September had failed leading to the groups resorting to launch severe anti-government protests including bandhs, night road blockade and office picketing during which two persons have died and several crore worth of properties damaged in the violence.
Both the influential groups of the 13 groups demanding the implementation of the ILP - the Khasi Students Union and the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People - have expressed their openness to talks.
Asked on the government's openness to talks after certain groups have expressed their openness to talks, Mukul said, "We will wait for certain inputs; we want sincerity from their parts as well."
"We have to examine this as to who is saying and whether it is coming from all of them. That is what is required to be examined from the government," the Chief Minister said.
Meanwhile the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong (SRS), a conglomeration of headmen in the state capital, did not attend the public consultation meet today.
"We have decided not to participate at the launching of the public consultation process to elicit views on the Bill as government has failed to clarify on the motive of initiating consultation on the Bill," SRS general secretary R L Blah said.