Conglomeration of NGOs from Garo Hills alleged of Illegal settlement at Wadagokgre

Tura, Oct 27: The conglomeration of NGos from Garo Hills comprised of  the ADE, AYWO, GSU, FAF and FKJGP alleged that thre is an illegal settlement at Wadagokgre, Tura  in West Gato Hills District.

The NGos wishes to convey to the Government of Meghalaya that there is apathy regarding the current grievances that will have considerable consequences for  Garo Hills based on the lackadaisical or no response from the government especially on the matter of illegal settlement at Wadagokgre, West Garo Hills.

The NGOs in the press statement said that, despite the area, as we know, is under a Sixth Schedule area and to boot, as far as we know, under the jurisdiction Archaeological Survey of India it being recognised as an archaeological site hundreds of people has taken residence illegally.

Even the indigenous peoples, have recognised it as a site of historic value the illegal immigrants have suddenly encroached on the area and seem to have permanently taken residence by building permanent structures.

The Meghalaya Government seems unperturbed of the calamity or is it simply nonplussed whatever the reason for inaction it is of great concern. The NGos are sure if the indigenous peoples of  Garo Hills for any reason great or small have tried to settle in the area

The NGOs said that they would have been evicted outright  and every government official would have been very busy but if illegal immigrants from outside settles illegally it seems the government is afraid. Our candour on the matter must be taken cognisance of by the government.

The NGOs have been protesting that the CAA will bring forth disastrous reciprocation from the illegal immigrants in such great waves. This is the silent invasion we have been clamouring about where the demography of Meghalaya will be drastically changed.

The provisions of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and the Land Transfer Act, 1971 prohibits any settlement by even non-tribals of Garo Hills let alone the illegal immigrants.

The NGOs pointed out that Under section 20A of the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Site and remains Act, 1958 (after ammendment) no construction may be made within the prohibited zone of 100 meters of the monument.

Even the ASI and Central Government needs the recommendation of the Expert Advisory Committee to carry out even public works or any construction within the prohibited area under Section 20A(4) of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains(Amendment and Validation ) Bill,2010 which received the assent of the President on 29-03-2010.

Why is the Meghalaya government not acting which is in contravention of the Act? The Meghalaya government must act quickly to save the archaeological site and also save the land of the Garos. Who know how many stones of historic value may have been removed from the site as foundation for the illegal construction.

Every year under the guise of fleeing from floods illegal immigrants have taken residence in Garo Hills with successive governments either ill-equipped or unwilling to acknowledge the situation.

An Illegal encroachments on heritage sites are a law and order issue and must be enforced by the district administration and the police department and the Meghalaya Government must act accordingly. It is known that the West Garo Hills administration has constituted an enquiry committee but the longer the enquiry the larger will be the illegal settlers.

The NGOs  will try to save the land and they will proceed with agitations if no move is made by the Meghalaya Government. The NGOs urge the highest office of the state to act in haste lest their continued settlement destroys the historical heritage site and brings a legal hurdle at a later stage.

The NGos appeal to the government to protect our land which is subject to the provisions of the Sixth Schedule and the Land Transfer Act which strictly prohibits such instances of its violation.

The press statement was sign by Tengsak G Momin President GSU, Manseng A Sangma Chief Adviser GSU,Mr. Dalseng Bira Ch. Momin President ADE, Apex Committee, Mr.  Murphy Shira  Raksrang Sangma Vice President  FKJGP, Mr. SengbathCh.Marak President AYWO, Central Body, Brinbal M. Sangma President FAF.

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