Congress slams idea of work permit to Bangladeshi nationals

SHILLONG, Apr 12: The opposition in the Meghalaya Assembly has slammed Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma for mooting the idea of issuing work permit to Bangladeshi nationals.

Initiating a debate in a “short duration discussion” during the Budget Session, Congress legislator from East Shillong, Ampareen Lyngdoh asked whether a work permit to foreign nationals can be issued by the state government.

Lyngdoh also asked whether it was ideal to discuss the work permit to Bangladeshi nationals when there is controversy surrounding the Inter-State Migrant workmen (Regulation of employment and conditions of service) Act, 1979.

She also asked from the state government in which areas (jobs) will such persons from Bangladesh be allowed to work if they are given work permits.

“If it is just an idea (mooted to the Centre), should we first initiate further dialogue at the state level to find out whether it is at all relevant,” Lyngdoh said.

Another Congress legislator from Mawsynram, Himalaya Muktan Shangpliang said that even if it was just an idea thrown at the centre it is wrong.

“Even a thought about it is wrong. Forget of an idea,” Shangpliang said during the course of his discussion.

The Mawsynram legislator also asked under which provision of law in the country does the chief minister wants to give work permit to foreign nationals.

Shangpliang said that the country is already self-sufficient in work force and do not need people from outside to help at any level.

“Instead of creating chaos the idea of work permit should be abandoned,” Shangpliang added.

Umroi legislator George B Lyngdoh pointed out that while the chief minister is proposing work permits for Bangladeshi nationals the unemployment rate in Meghalaya was 6.8 percent.

“The chief minister should have demanded employment avenues for our youths in the various central government offices located in the state,” Lyngdoh.

The Congress legislator from Umroi also warned that with the updation of the National Register of Citizens in Assam many illegal immigrants will enter into Meghalaya.

Meanwhile, opposition leader, Dr Mukul Sangma criticised the chief minister for allegedly taking such an important decision in New Delhi without the knowledge of the people of the state.

“The chief minister has the audacity to announce it in Delhi. Any such decision should have been first discussed in the House,” Dr Sangma said.

The former chief minister such that such action on the part of Conrad reflects his “noviceness” in understanding the magnitude of his proposal.

He also asked if such a proposal was coming from the chief minister himself or someone else.

Urging Conrad to end the proposal, Dr Sangma said, “He (Conrad) should stop himself to be a pawn at the hands of others.”

The opposition leader also asked if the proposal to grant work permits to Bangladeshi nationals is a part of the larger plan of amending the Citizenship Act.

Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement legislator Adelbert Nongrum also took part in the discussion.

Later the opposition Congress MLAs led by Dr Sangma staged a walkout from the House in protest against the proposal to issue work permits Bangladeshi nationals.