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Encroachment issue: Govt to approach defence authorities

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 5, 2009

SHILLONG: Concerned about frequent instances of encroachment by defence forces upon civilian property by erecting barricades which pose unnecessary inconveniences to the public, the State Government has decided to ask the defence forces, including Assam Rifles and Indian Air Force, to stop usurping public land.

The government reportedly made the decision after a meeting between Chief Minister DD Lapang and a delegation of Rangbah Shnong and villagers from Pomlakrai area led by Nongkrem MLA Ardent M Basaiawmoit on Friday.

“The Chief Minister has assured us that the government would ask the defence forces housed within the city limits and on the outskirts of the city to stop erecting gates on public roads as these cause inconvenience to local villagers and passers-by,” Mr Basaiawmoit told reporters.

The Nongkrem legislator pointed to instances where defence forces used to create inconveniences to public in Mawshbuit area, parts of Upper Shillong, Happy Valley area and other cantonment areas on the outskirts of the city.

Mr Basaiawmoit had earlier written a letter to Mr Lapang apprising him of fresh incidents of public harassment by Assam Rifles which erected barricades across the PWD roads leading to Umiew-Pomlakrai villages. He also stated that local villagers had complained that India Air Force authorities were laying claim to all public roads adjacent to the IAF complex at Laitkor Peak, thereby causing inconveniences to local villagers.

Villagers from Umiew- Pomlakrai said Assam Rifles had erected barricades across the PWD road and created hardship to local villagers, adding the defence forces would stop and ask them unnecessary questions whenever they needed to pass through what was earlier a thoroughfare.

“The said road pre-dates the arrival of the Assam Rifles in the area. The same is the case with Mawshbuit and Happy Valley which were set up in locations where several villages already existed. Therefore, this attempt by Assam Rifles and Army authorities is sheer harassment and it is not the first time that local villagers are facing this kind of problem,” Mr Basaiawmoit said.

Slamming Assam Rifles for erecting such gates across the road constructed and maintained by PWD, the Nongkrem MLA told the Chief Minister during the meeting that people of Mawbynna Pomlakrai were also facing similar problems with the Indian Air Force authorities closing all the roads used by the people and preventing local villagers from entering their areas of cultivation.

It may be mentioned here that Assam Regimental Centre (ARC), Shillong has also been accused of encroaching upon private landholdings in the vicinity of the Cantonment Area in Happy Valley here.

Residents of Happy Valley on Wednesday alleged that ARC was fencing off land belonging to the Nongrum clan, according to a court verdict.

Sources said ARC jawans were seen fencing off 7 acres of land owned by the Nongrum clan and even erected posts in the area. Though one of the landowners had lodged an FIR with Madanrting police, no action has been initiated against ARC, the sources added


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