File photo of Police Bazaar in Shillong | Photo Courtesy: The Shillong Times

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said that the state government will decide on the issue related to shifting of settlers from Sweepers Lane in Shillong based on a report of the High-Level Committee (HLC).

“The government will take a call based on the report submitted by HLC,” he said.

On May 31, the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) based on the direction of the HLC had issued notices to over 300 households urging them to submit documents to prove that they are genuine settlers of the area. The board gave them one month to submit their documents between June 3 and July 3.

“We are here to give an opportunity to everybody and we cannot say no to anybody as everybody has the right to approach the HLC and give their side of the story, submit their documents and then the HLC will decide. So let them submit let them put their papers and HLC will be happy to meet them and examine and the decision will be taken,” Sangma said.

Reacting to the demands of the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) for permanent land papers, the chief minister said, they are welcomed to give their letters and it is the duty of the HLC to listen to all stakeholders.

“There are many letters, claims and requests coming in and as a government, it is our duty to listen to everybody and give them time to express their concerns and point of view. But the HLC will ultimately take all these inputs, requests, and aspects and go into the inventorisation, actual facts of the matter and then submit a report,” he said.

Sangma said that he had also told the delegation that met him recently in Delhi that the inventorisation is going on and once the HLC submit its report, the government will be in a position to tell how things will move forward.
However, the Harijan Panchayat Committee termed the notices issued by the SMB as illegal, and the committee has filed a contempt case against the Board.

Whether more time is required by the HLC to submit its report, Sangma said, “this kind of effort has not been made in the past, as none of the governments took up this issue as seriously as we are, and there is a reason for it as this issue is complicated. Therefore, the HLC should not be pushed right now. The documentation, paper works should be done meticulously so that there are no issues or no challenges in whatever steps we take. It should be done in a speedy manner but not in a manner that is hasty.”

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