Far from dragging its feet, the government is keen on setting up 24 entry-exit points to tackle illegal infiltration in the state, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma told the Assembly today.
In its first phase, the government has identified 24 locations that will serve as entry-exit points; there are 41 in total. Land acquisition for these centres is at various stages of progress, Sangma told the house.
“The state government is committed towards ensuring that the process of land acquisition and setting up of facilitation centres is done at the earliest at all the entry and exit points,” he said.
The CM also rejected newspaper reports of a halt in work on the Umling checkpoint in Ri-Bhoi, saying that it will be complete by the end of this month.
The government, Sangma added, had prioritized this checkpoint as it is the gateway to Meghalaya for most entrants to the state.
He also recounted the government’s thinking behind de-sanctioning the original plan for the Umling centre, which had been budgeted at Rs 15.93 crore, in favour of a Rs 285.75 lakh (less than one-fifth of the cost of the original) pre-fabricated structure.
“This decision was taken to ensure that the facilitation centre is completed at earliest, which will also ensure that it serves as a Covid-19 screening centre,” the Chief Minister stated.
He also informed that once the centre is ready and notified, the District Task Force will designate the officials who will be in charge of it, drawn from the Police, Tourism and other relevant departments. The centre will also house officials from the Health Department for Covid-19 screening.
Sangma also said that the Mendipathar Railway Station facility in North Garo Hills is expected to be completed by December.