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Garo rebels causing serious concern: Meghalaya governor

Posted on Mar 07 2014 | IANS

Shillong, March 7 : Meghalaya Governor K.K. Paul Friday expressed concern over the growing influence of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a rebel outfit, in certain areas of the state.

"The increased activities of GNLA and its growing influence in Garo Hills and parts of West Khasi Hills is a matter of serious concern," the governor said in his address to the state legislative assembly, marking the start of its budget session.

Paul said activities of the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, a separatist outfit, have seen a decline during the past one year because of the constant pressure mounted by police.

Their movement and activities are confined to certain areas along the India-Bangladesh border, he said.

The former Delhi Police commissioner-turned governor said the overall law and order situation in Meghalaya over the past one year has been stable and under control.

Praising the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force in containing the activities of various militant outfits in the state, Paul said during 2013, 108 militants were arrested and 19 militants surrendered and large quantities of arms and ammunition were seized.

"The government has been making concerted efforts to end the hardship of the common people and restore peace and normalcy in the Garo Hills," he said reiterating that the police forces will be firm in dealing with the elements that indulge in unlawful activities.

He said peace settlement with the A'chik National Volunteers Council, a Garo rebel outfit, has reached the final stages of approval by the central government.

"The state government is keen on getting this done before the elections to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council. It is with this intent that the term of the present council has been extended by six months," Paul said.

On the influx of illegal migrants and existence of bases of some of the rebels from northeast in Bangladesh, Paul said the government is committed to complete the border fencing on the international border at a fast pace.

He said in 2013, 4,137 illegal migrants were detected, of them 169 were prosecuted and 3,968 were sent back directly.

The government is also taking initiatives for dialogue with the Assam government to resolve the boundary issue, he added.

He said the state stood committed to ensuring a better delivery system so that all citizens obtain their rightful entitlements.

"Eradication of corruption at all levels will be the prime object of my government. A new Lokayukta Bill, in conformity with the model Bill recommended by the select committee of parliament and based on extensive consultations held with various stakeholders is being brought to the assembly during the current session," Paul said.

"A legislation is under preparation which will seek to lay down benchmarks and timelines for more efficient delivery of services by the government departments to the public," he added.

Paul said another legislation providing social audit is being worked upon to facilitate greater participation of the community in the monitoring important government programmes and projects.

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