Rambrai-Jyrngam MDC Bajop Pyngrope has said that even a goods train service without the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in place in Meghalaya could pose a risk for the indigenous tribal population.
“With a microscopic population like ours, we cannot take the risk on railways because once the railway lines come we may today say it is only for the goods train but later this may be altered to something else,” Pyngrope told Highland Post recently while maintaining that this is his individual opinion as an MDC.
Pressure groups have led the opposition to the coming of railways to Meghalaya and they refuse to even countenance goods-only trains unless ILP is applied to the state. Most politicians and political parties, taking their cue from these organisations, agree. Proponents of rail say that prices of imported goods will come down and traders will be able to sell state produce at attractive rates in other states if freight trains are introduced in Meghalaya.
Pyngrope, an MDC belonging to the National People’s Party (NPP), said that a consensus has to be taken and opinions sought from pressure groups and traditional headmen.
The NPP-led state government passed a resolution in favour of ILP in 2019. However, the Centre appears to be against it. “ILP for other states is being done online nowadays and I don’t see that implementation will pose any difficulty to the people wanting to come here,” Pyngrope stated, while adding that a new resolution in favour of ILP should be passed by the government now.
“I’m not an MLA but I feel that the MLAs should take a call on this and pass another resolution on ILP and further pursue the matter with the Centre,” he added.
Pyngrope was among the MDCs who went to New Delhi recently to attend a protest for the demand for ILP and inclusion of the Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
He further observed that the demand for crucial issues should not be for political gain and mileage but all political parties should unitedly come together as one for such issues. “We are such a minute population and if everybody wants mileage out of important issues concerning the state then it will never be,” he added.