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Meghalaya fears influx, curbs on entry of visitors

THE ASIAN AGE. | MANOJ ANAND
Published : Nov 4, 2019, 1:50 am IST
Updated : Nov 4, 2019, 2:11 am IST

Central and state government employees are exempt from the new entry rule.

Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong  (Photo: ANI)
 Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong (Photo: ANI)

Guwahati: Bogged down by the growing demand of Inner Line Permits, the Meghalaya government has amended the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act 2019 to make the registration on entry mandatory for visitors who intend to spend more than 24 hours in the state.

In what is going to be a major roadblock for the Act East policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strengthen the historical relationship by transforming the northeastern states into a gateway to Southeast Asia, the Meghalaya Cabinet on Sunday approved the Amended Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Bill (MRRSA) 2019 in the form of an ordinance. It is aimed at keeping a tab on illegal immigrants.

“This amendment of the existing act in the form of an ordinance will come into force immediately. The ordinance will be regularised in the next session of the state Assembly,” deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong said.

Central and state government employees are exempt from the new entry rule.

“According to the provisions of MRRSA 2016, landlords were to register their tenants and inform traditional heads. But through this amendment, we make it applicable to everybody who is interested in visiting our state,” Mr Tynsong said. This law was previously applicable only to tenants.

He, however, clarified that permanent residents of the state, even if they are non-tribals, need not worry. This law is applicable only to those visiting the state as tourists, labourers, students or for business deals. They will need to comply to certain guidelines to be prepared in the form of rules.

Any person who wilfully fails to furnish information or gives false information will be penalised under Section 176 or 177 of IPC, Mr Tynsong said.

The opposition Congress has opposed the amendment while fearing it may have a serious impact on tourism.

On being asked about the Congress’ objections, the deputy chief minister said he was not sure on what ground they were opposing the move. About the documents that people who are visiting the state need to submit, he said that the government is yet to draft the rules.

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance Cabinet, of which the BJP is a constituent, okayed the amendment amid growing demands for an Inner Line Permit (ILP) system to stop illegal immigration into the state. The ILP, a document issued by the Centre to Indians visiting a protected area for a limited period, is now in force in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. Unlike ILP, Meghalaya’s new entry requirement will be implemented by the state government.

Tags: meghalaya government, narendra modi
Location: India, Assam, Guwahati (Gauhati)