Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today said law and order in at least five districts in the Garo Hills region was a “matter of concern”.
Sangma, who was addressing the official gathering at the Polo grounds after unfurling the national flag, said militant and criminal outfits continued to engage in anti-national and criminal activities disrupting economic activity and normal life in the region. He also said that the state police is keeping a close watch on the trans-border movement of “terrorists” from the neighbouring country and have taken up the issue with the Centre.
Speaking about economic aid, the Chief Minister criticised the NDA government’s decision to withdraw the special category status for North East states and said his government, along with other states of the region, is aggressively taking up the matter demanding its restoration. The special category status enabled the North East states to special block grants such Special Central Assistance (SCA), Special Plan Assistance (SPA) aimed at providing financial assistance to these low income states.
On improvement of road and connectivity in the land-locked state, the chief minister said the state government has launched many new initiatives under the Plan umbrella such as upgradation of State Highways (SHs) and Major District Roads (MDRs). Exhorting the recent land swap deal with Bangladesh in which Meghalaya stands to gain over 240 acres and lose about 41 acres of land, Mukul said the deal should bring economic benefits to the people residing in the border areas.
“What was once a boundary of discord (with neighbouring Bangladesh) will now turn into an area of vibrant trade and commerce to build a bond of friendship,” he said while crediting the people of state for peaceful Independence day celebrations. Sangma also hailed the enthusiastic participation by the general public in independence day celebrations and also thanked the state machinery. This year’s celebrations were not preceded by media reports about shutdown calls by outlawed outfits with the High Court barring the press from publishing such announcements of disruptions. The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) had begun the trend of calling bandh on this date since 1991.