Tura(Meghalaya), July 29: Nikman Marak, the deputy CEM of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) today paid a visit to the town of Phulbari after various NGOs from the area raised concerns over the illegal occupation of Council land.
Nikman, who also visited other areas in the plain belt did a recce of the areas where lands belonging to the GHADC have been illegally occupied while adding that the findings would be discussed in a meeting with the executive committee and further action will be taken up.
Earlier various NGOs from the Phulbari area, including the GSU, AHAM, GSMC, CEPARD etc had submitted a written complaint over three main issues – with land occupation being one of the main concerns, settling of illegal migrants across the plain belt and businesses working without valid TNT licenses across the plain belt.
Speaking on his visit, Nikman said, “The NGO had submitted a compliant on the matter of GHADC land being occupied as well as pattas being given to non tribals in Mouza III. Today I paid a visit to these areas where initial findings point to the allegations being true. I will be discussing these findings with our EC and then work on action that needs to be taken.”
Speaking on behalf of the NGOs, Jack A Sangma, AHAM member highlighted the problem of illegal pattas and how the situation was getting out of control.
“We are not even sure as to where many of these people have come from, Assam or Bangladesh but they have pattas on Aking lands which is illegal. We have raised the matter with the GHADC and the deputy CEM visited today to do a survey of the complaint. He has also assured us that the EC would be looking closely into the matter,” said Sangma.
Meanwhile Nikman stated that the entire Garo Hills was being mapped as per the various Mouzas (ten in all) so that illegal occupation can be identified, correct to a margin of 3 cm. Geo mapping of all lands will be done and a budget set aside to ensure it was completed on time. This he felt would go a long way in identifying land owners as well as provide details of illegal land occupation. The mapped data would be available for all to see in the coming days.