Meghalaya sets deadline for HPC to submit reply on Them Iew Mawlong issue

March 17, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, March 16: The state government has set a deadline for the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) to submit its reply by April 10, with regards to the proposal for relocating the 342 families of Sweepers' Colony from Them Iew Mawlong to the existing land of the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB).

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"We have already given the blueprint (on the government's proposal) to them and we have given them time to reply till April 10," Deputy Chief Minister in-charge Urban Affairs Sniawbhalang Dhar told reporters after taking a review of his department.

He said that the direction was taken after the HPC had sought for another three months' time to respond to the government's proposal.

"However, we have not agreed to their request and we have decided to give them till April 10, to reply to us," Dhar said adding "After this only the high-level committee (HLC) will call a meeting to take a final decision on the matter."

The deputy chief minister said, "We will hear first from their (HPC) side and after that we will be able to tell you what we should do and what we should not do. It is not advisable for me to tell now what we will do."

On February 16, the Meghalaya High Court asked the state government to immediately resolve the issue after the Assembly elections.

“The State should make every endeavour, immediately after the election, to resolve the matter since it has been represented on behalf of the State on previous occasions that several parcels of land had been identified for the resettlement of the members of the first respondent body,” the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee had said in its order.

The bench had said that the matter has been adjourned for a considerable period of time on the joint representation of the parties that an amicable settlement will be arrived at.

On September 29, last year the state government presented the blueprint to the HPC during a meeting, which indicated its decision to construct multi-storey flats at the existing official quarters of the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) for relocation of the 342 families.

The state government had outrightly rejected the April 25, 2022 proposal of the HPC that 200 square meters of land be provided to each of the 342 families within the European ward besides bearing the cost of construction of their homes.

After the meeting, HPC secretary Gurjit Singh expressed concern that the government had rejected its 8-point resolution.

“The government has instead come up with its own blueprint. Therefore, we will first study the blueprint, we will go back to the people of our community to discuss and take a collective decision then we will come back to the government,” he had said.