Forty different organisations based in Assam have threatened to block all routes into Garo Hills from Goalpara from October 29 as they are unhappy with continuing restrictions placed on the entry of people into Meghalaya due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The organisations, which met this week on the matter at Krishnai, have promised to block all routes if the two states did not sit down and ease restrictions imposed by the state of Meghalaya on traders and businessmen from Assam due to the scare of the pandemic.
Similar to this protest, the All India Road Transport Workers Federation’s Assam unit has also been pressuring the government of Meghalaya to end its travel restrictions.
“When the entire country has opened up for trade and movement, why is Meghalaya still making special restrictions? The MHA (Union Ministry of Home Affairs) has very strictly directed states to not impose restrictions on trading and movement of people, so why is the Meghalaya government adamant that it wants to not comply with a central ministry order,” said the organisations in a press release.
The groups are annoyed that there are restrictions placed on people coming into Meghalaya from other states but there are no restrictions on travel the other way.
“It is unfair that they can come and we can’t go. If they want to impose a ban on entry, their residents should also not enter Assam. We will stop all vehicular movement from Meghalaya coming into Assam between Daranggre and Agia (limited to Goalpara district for now),” said the organisations.
The organisations stated that the restrictions imposed by Meghalaya have hit small businessmen operating between the two states extremely hard and given rise to a new wave of middlemen who take goods from Assam and sell in Meghalaya for a much higher price.
“The common man in both states is suffering due to these restrictions. You can feel it in the skyrocketing prices in Meghalaya for common goods. Here, the tourist vehicle industry has been hit along with traders who have shops in Meghalaya but have not been able to run their shops as they are denied entry. How will the government compensate for these losses?” they asked.
The organisations had earlier threatened a complete block on the routes but had not done so due to the Durga Puja festival. However, they are now determined to make good on their promise and stop all Meghalaya vehicles from coming into Assam through Goalpara district.
They had also met the Goalpara district administration with their grievances and had been assured of common ground being worked on.
The district shares a long boundary with Garo Hills with all entry roads to the region having to go through Goalpara.