Sinlung /
10 September 2013

Inner Line Permit A Legacy of British Rule: Meghalaya CM

By Naresh Mitra

Guwahati, Sep 10 : Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma on Monday categorically said that the concept of inner line permit (ILP), which various organizations, including student bodies, are demanding in Meghalaya, has become "outdated" and has no relevance in the present-day context.

"It (ILP) is no longer an effective mechanism to check influx of illegal migrants. It is a concept that was initiated during the British rule and has outlived its efficacy. So, implementation of the ILP is not going to help anything," Sangma said on the sidelines of the North East CleanTech Summit here.

Sangma's Monday remark has sent a clear message to pressure groups that the Meghalaya government is determined not to budge from its stand against the ILP demand. Rather, the chief minister made it clear that his government is in favour of exploring other "effective" mechanisms for preventing illegal migrants settling in the state.

Though pressure groups in Meghalaya have been raising the ante for the implementation of the ILP system to check illegal migrants, the state government has been persistently maintaining its stand that it did not favour the mechanism.

As a tribal state where non-tribals cannot purchase land, Sangma reiterated that the government is working on a mechanism to integrate existing laws and customary authorities in the state to further check influx.

"We are also in favour of making the tenancy legislation stronger and making it functional in close coordination with the customary authorities in the state. Also, there is the National Population Register, which will help in determining and checking influx," Sangma said.

The ILP system, at present, is enforced in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. Along with Meghalaya, various organizations in Manipur too are demanding implementation of the ILP. Though Manipur is not a tribal state, activists demanding the ILP system argued that there are non-locals settling in the state and getting voter identity cards.

With northeastern states vying for investments from across the country and abroad, many corporate leaders are not so enthusiastic about the ILP system.

On Monday, Sangma inaugurated the summit, organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce in association with Canada's department for foreign affairs, trade and development.

"My government is very eager to engage in tapping the renewal energy potential of the state. We are looking for partners in synergizing tapping of power with a green concept. We will ensure that this is done in a hassle-free manner," Sangma said.

Experts from Canada, corporate leaders, technology providers, scientists, senior government officials from the Centre and the northeast and stakeholders deliberated on ensuring energy security in the region through sustainable and eco-friendly technologies.


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