Itanagar: The recent announcement made to media by Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, for granting Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) to non-tribal communities permanently residing in Namsai and Changlang districts in the state, has evoked strong resentment here, with a community based organisation demanding the state government to immediately roll back the announcement.
Mein, while talking to media persons in Assam recently announced that granting PRC to the non-tribals would be a New Year gift for them.
Addressing media persons here on Saturday chairman of Arunachal Pradesh Abotani Community Confederation (APACC) Taba Taku said that the organisation was not against granting PRCs to genuine non-tribals residing in the state but protesting the announcement as the government constituted Joint High Powered Committee headed by state Environment and Forest Minister Nabam Rebia is yet to submit its report.
“The state government had undermined the sentiments of the indigenous people of the state and without consulting them had announced to grant PRCs to the non-tribals which will bear negative impact,” Taku said adding, without going through the pros and cons of the issue, the deputy chief minister made the announcement which is nothing but a policy of appeasement before elections, due next year.
“When the community-based organisations and the state government is working on a framework for suitable solution to the issue, how the deputy chief minister made the announcement without waiting for the committee’s report?” Taku wondered.
While condemning the move, the organisation pointed out that there was no mention about granting PRCs to non-tribals in the Statehood Act.
When contacted, Mein informed that the government is working for an acceptable solution to the impasse and would act accordingly to the report of the committee.
“We are waiting for the final report which will be submitted by the end of this month. The report will be placed before the cabinet and accordingly an acceptable solution will be hammered out. I made the announcement saying that it will be a new year gift for the people of the state as the government will definitely work out an amicable solution which will be acceptable to all,” the deputy chief minister said.
The PRC issue snowballed into a major crisis in the state in recent times with all the CBOs including students’ organisations opposing the move which compelled the state government to constitute the committee with members from students’ unions and CBOs besides MPs and opposition MLAs, to study the issue and submit a report within six months.
A total of 300 to 400 households of non-tribal communities who have settled in Namsai and Changlang districts of the state since several decades are demanding PRCs.
All together, six non-tribal communities are residing in Lekang constituency under Namsai district, which Mein represents.
Two non-tribal communities are residing in Vijaynagar (Changlang district), followed by four in Namsai (Namsai), two in Chowkham (Namsai) and four in Diyun-Bordumsa (Changlang).
Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Mein on Friday had an interaction with various Community Based Organizations of Namsai district regarding the granting of PRC to the non-Arunachalees.
Executive Members of CBOs namely, Tai Khamti Singpho Council, Tai-Khamti Singpho Student Union, Tai Khamti Development Society, Singpho Welfare Society and All Namsai Area Youth Association had expressed no objections to the granting of PRC to the eligible Non-APST permanently residing in Namsai and Changlang districts with 1968 as the cut-off year. However, they said that a proper dossier should be maintained as per the cadastral survey of 1968.
Khandu said the government would bring the PRC issue before the Cabinet for discussion after the final report is available and added that the government is positively considering the long pending demands of the non-Arunachalees permanently residing in the two districts.
However, he said that the government would frame a proper guideline before coming to a final decision.