Meghalaya panel favours permit system in state
The Meghalaya government-constituted panel on influx Tuesday unanimously resolved to recommend immediate implementation the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system to check the influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in this mountainous state.
The committee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Bindo M. Lanong, would submit its recommendation to the Mukul Sangma government in a day or two.
"Although alternative proposals were made such as implementation of three-tier card system, a consensus decision emerged on the need to introduce Inner Line Permit system in the state," Lanong told journalists.
The mandate of the Lanong committee is to review the situation of influx in the state and to suggest a multi-pronged strategy and a practical approach to tackle the problem.
The ILP is issued under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, by the state governments to Indian citizens entering Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. The then British government had introduced the Act in the northeastern states to "protect the tribals from exploitation by restricting entry of outsiders".
In Meghalaya, ILP was repealed from Garo Hills in 1897. The issue of Garo Hills being outside the purview of the ILP was discussed threadbare and the committee decided that the government must ensure (if needed through legislation) that ILP covers the entire state and should not be implemented partially.
"The provisions of the Act cannot be implemented partially. We cannot have two sets of law for the state, so we have to tread carefully, although there is a general consensus that ILP should be introduced in the state to check influx," said Lanong.
Earlier, the committee thought of presenting two options - the ILP or the three-tier identification system, whichever is conducive.
In the latter, permanent residents of the state would be presented a green identification card, while "semi-permanent" residents like central government employees, businessmen and contractors would be presented with a blue colour card.
A temporary red colour identification card would be issued to "tourists, labourers etc".
This card would be issued at the inter-state entry points and Meghalaya Houses. The permanent card would be issued after identification by the Dorbar (traditional bodies) and confirmation from the deputy commissioners.
Chief Minister Sangma, who had earlier admitted that the entry of illegal immigrants into the state was alarming, said the state would have a "more stringent institutionalised mechanism" than the ILP.