Fencing along India-Bangladesh border adversely affects locals in South Garo Hills
From A Correspondent
Tura, Sept 3: Local residents of South Garo Hills on Sunday raised its demand for rehabilitation and compensation of villagers close to the India-Bangladesh border in Siju-Rongara area of the district in Meghalaya.
tiol People’s Party (NPP) leader Rakkam Sangma, who is leading the campaign on behalf of the people, stated in a release, “The demand of the people is genuine and the State and Central governments should pay urgent attention to resolve the issue.”
He said that recently the people have submitted their plea to Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju through Tura Lok Sabha MP Conrad K. Sangma. “NPP chief Conrad Sangma has endorsed the demand of the India-Bangladesh Border Grievances Committee,” he said, adding that compensation is a must for the people, who have lost their land due to erection of fence along the India-Bangladesh border.
Rakkam said over 200 families were affected in Siju-Rongara area of South Garo Hills due to erection of the fence. “We have visited the sites at various locations and found that the hundreds of families have been badly affected. They have been displaced and had to abandon large portions of their land that they had inherited from their forefathers and were the sources of their livelihood,” said Rakkam.
In most areas, people had large orchards, which are now on the other side of the fencing.
NPP delegation has found that more than 80 families were living outside the border fence and they are facing a very bad situation. “Most of them are BPL families without any facilities (MGNREGS, water, electricity, medical aid, etc). They are also under constant threat from crimils from the other side of border,” said the NPP leader.
More than 100 acres of agricultural land are now under the ‘No Man Zone’ mainly due to the border fence not following guidelines leading to huge losses to the origil inhabitants.
“We urge upon both the Government of Meghalaya and the Government of India to take serious note of this issue and conduct a study of the affected families. They should take measures to provide immediate relief and seek a long-term solution to the issue,” he added.
Rakkam felt that there was an immediate need for the government to revisit the construction of the fence or pay compensation to the displaced families. “Most have moved to the Indian side, but there are many that are still there and live like refugees,” he said.
He said NPP South Garo Hills unit would form a committee to look into the matter and send another report to the State and Central governments.
“We strongly appeal to the Government of Meghalaya to act on this issue without further delay and bring it to the knowledge of the Central government,” said the release.