Opposition MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh said today that if the present government is not serious about the entry/exit checkpoints into Meghalaya, it should then introduce the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as a check on illegal infiltration.
“If the entry/exit points do not take off, as discussed and promised over the years, then we have to refresh our demand for the ILP, which is a long-awaited aspiration of the people of the state,” Lyngdoh told Highland Post.
The Conrad K Sangma government had cancelled its approval for the construction of an entry point at Umling in Ri-Bhoi, preferring instead to use a pre-fabricated structure.
“After people reacted badly to the de-sanctioning of the entry/exit point at Umling, the Chief Minister said that the government will bring in a prefab building, but it remains to be see if it is also a prefab policy as well,” she quipped.
The debate over entry/exit checkpoints had lasted for several years, with all stakeholders having something to say on the subject before all views and suggestions were incorporated into one policy and now the government has summarily decided to dispense with the infrastructure component, the East Shillong MLA said.
The construction of the facilitation centre at the checkpoint in Umling was approved at a cost of nearly Rs 16 crore. The Tourism Department, which had been entrusted with the project, had sanctioned the amount on March 13.
Sources said that Kitbok Warbah, the contractor for the checkpoint project, had already spent more than Rs 4 crore on earthworks and other expenses from his own pocket as the state government has not sanctioned any fund for the project.
The work for setting up of the entry point at Umling began in May 2019 on land belonging to the Transport Department.
Lyngdoh questioned whether the contractors had all agreed to the change in infrastructure plan.
“We have to focus on the entire policy and including the entire procedure and process and whether or not the government will honour the entire dialoguing that went on for so long for the functioning of these entry and exit points,” she added.