Shillong MP Vincent Pala is of the opinion that Meghalaya needs to be careful in its implementation of an anti-infiltration mechanism, be it the Inner Line Permit or something else, mindful of the need to protect the indigenous population while balancing economic interests.
Pala said that nobody wants Meghalaya to become another Tripura, where the indigenous population has become a minority in their own land, but tourism and Shillong’s status as an education hub for the North East could come under threat if the anti-infiltration mechanism is applied without proper research and consideration.
“We need to work out and see that everything is systematic and any mechanism implemented does not affect tourism, including education, where students get a place to stay and it should not result in harassment of the people,” Pala told Highland Post.
If the mechanism is too rigid, tourists and students from outside the state could be put off from coming to Meghalaya and that would have bad economic consequences for local people.
“I think we need a proper system in place that will monitor who is coming and going out of the state and who are snatching away job opportunities from our people,” he said.
For a system to be able to successfully tackle influx, the government needs to bring traditional institutions onboard, Pala opined.
“We have seen how successfully the traditional institutions have handled the Covid-19 pandemic and provided details of every person coming and going outside the state by working together with the district administration, Health Department, etc and I think that the government should take their help in this matter as well,” he said.
He also said of the entry-exit checkpoints, the first of which will begin functioning on December 16, that it remains to be seen how dedicatedly they will carry out their ostensible duties or whether they are simply eyewash. He drew parallels with the existing infiltration check gates, which do not keep detailed records of people entering or exiting the state.
Stating that there’s a need for a protective mechanism that suits the modern times and not a mechanism that’s 100 years old, he informed that the last time he met the Joint Secretary of the Union Home Ministry, including Amit Shah, he was told that Meghalaya’s desire for the implementation of ILP still needs to be examined.