The controversy over the B Mahal lands in Garo Hills, a conflict between the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) and residents, has reached a stage where social activist Rimjen Ch Sangma plans to file a PIL in court over the matter.
In a press release today, Sangma said that the ‘Save B Mahal’ committee has authorised him to move court to try and save the land from the designs of the GHADC, which apparently plans to use it for a Indian Reserve Battalion, solar park and for a plantation project. Residents have been told to cough up Rs 40,000 for a one time settlement that will allow them two bighas of land per family, an amount that many find impossible to raise.
Sangma condemned the GHADC’s “arbitrary” move which, he said, violates Article 14 of the Constitution.
“The bonafide residents of the B Mahal area have equal rights to settle, reside in any place in the Garo Hills,” Sangma said. “The GHADC is a lawmaker and doesn’t have the right to land alienation or transfer. The land of Mechpara and Karaibari belonged to the Garos before the zamindary system. Therefore, GHADC is a tax collector, not the owner of the land and there is no land ceiling act hitherto.”