North Shillong MLA begins five day sit-in-protest against state government

Shillong, Jan 17: Lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator Adelbert Nongrum on Monday began his five-day sit-in-protest against the state government’s failure to comply with the five points charter of demands.

Nongrum has also decided to go ahead with boycotting the 50th year of statehood celebration.

This came after the five-day ultimatum given to the state government expired. The MLA had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on January 12, urging the government to address the five points charter of demands.

These include the need to review the state reservation policy, relaxing the upper age limit, creation of separate Meghalaya cadre, relocation of the Sweepers’ Colony and resolving the long pending boundary dispute with Assam.

“The state government is not at all serious about addressing these issues. Therefore, I have decided to stage this sit-in demonstration as a mark of protest against the failure of the government of the day,” he said.

“I have also decided to go ahead with boycotting the Meghalaya day celebrations,” Nongrum said while adding that he would end his protest at 10 am on January 22.

He said that it is a shame that he being part and parcel of the state government is compelled to protest in this manner.

When asked about the reservation policy, Nongrum said that the present policy has become out-dated even as he asserted that the government should consider doing away with it and come up with a new policy.

“I am not trying to communalise the issues or trying to create differences among the people living in the state of Meghalaya but I’m trying to push for a resolution to uplift the state through empowerment and employment of eligible local youths in various administrations so that the state progresses forward,” he said.

Nongrum said the state government should immediately consider enhancing the upper age limit for the benefit of educated and unemployed youths of the state especially in view of the negative impact of the COVID pandemic during the last two years.

“It should be given as a gift to the youths of the state on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebration,” he said. According to him, many states in the North East have already taken bold decisions in regards to relaxing the upper age limit for entry into government services.

On the demand to bifurcate the joint cadre with Assam, Nongrum said that this has been one of the loopholes when it comes to the decision of solving the border dispute between Assam and Meghalaya as there is no independency on the authority and decision making on solving border disputes.

“It is high time for the state of Meghalaya to have its own cadre, hence I demand from the state government to persuade the central government to separate the joint cadre between Assam and Meghalaya” , he added.

On the demand to relocate the settlers of Punjabi Lane or Them Motor, Nongrum said that this is one of the longest pending issues which the people and the state as a whole have demanded for so long. He added that the state government must not hesitate to shift all settlers, especially those who are government employees by relocating them to their newly allocated respective government quarters.

Nongrum asserted that the state government must modify, beautify or develop the area as deemed fit for the benefit of all people and also to decongest the area which is the busiest market place in the state.

On the demand to solve the border dispute with Assam, Nongrum said that this issue has been passed on from one government to another and this time the state government must take advantage as both states are ruled by parties who are in alliance with the central government.

“Yes, various talks have been going on from both sides, but from time to time we have witnessed local settlers in border areas are being harassed by officials from Assam hence the state government must take this issue very seriously and resolve this issue once and for all” said Nongrum.

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