JNC wants historical background survey of disputed areas

Asks state govt to expedite pending projects in Jaintia Hills

Shillong, Sep 6: The Jaintia National Council (JNC) on Wednesday submitted two memoranda to Deputy Chief Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, who is an MLA from Nartiang, on historical background survey of the disputed areas and expediting the pending projects in Jaintia Hills.

In the memorandum on disputed areas, JNC said Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as an autonomous state in 1972. The creation of the new State was based on the Assam Reorganization (Meghalaya) Act of 1969.


“However, the Meghalaya government refused to accept this Act as areas of the present-day Jaintia Hills, Ri Bhoi and West Khasi Hills districts of Meghalaya were transferred to the Karbi Anglong, Kamrup (metro) and Kamrup districts of Assam,” the statement read.

JNC pointed out that Assam said the Government of Meghalaya could neither provide documents nor archival materials to prove its claim over these areas. After claims and counter-claims, the dispute was narrowed down to 12 sectors on the basis of an official claim by Meghalaya in 2011.

The council said the Regional Committees of both the states that are surveying the disputed areas lack experts from various departments to look into the historical background.

“Also, the Regional Committee has ignored to settle these disputed areas according to their historical background concerning the tribal people living in these disputed areas and as per their customary practices and so on.

JNC said in Jaintia Hills, some Elakas, such as the Nongphyllut Elaka, and villages where the residents are from the Pnar community have fallen under the jurisdiction of the Assam Government. It also raised concerns about the safety of the tribal populace in these areas.

Keeping this in mind, JNC suggested that the Regional Committees conduct a historical background survey with the help of experts from various departments.

Pending projects

In another memorandum, JNC asked the state government to speed up the completion of the much-awaited Jowai market and mini secretariat in the district headquarters of West Jaintia Hills.

“(We) earnestly request your esteemed office to kindly look into these issues that is the completion of Jowai market (Iawmusiang)’ and ‘Mini Secretariat’ at Jowai, West Jaintia Hills District and for the functioning of both the residential schools and a Teachers Training Centre in East Jaintia Hills District,” JNC said.

“Furthermore, operating a Teachers Training Centre in East Jaintia Hills District is the utmost need, especially during the transitional period of New Education Policy (NEP) 2020,” it added.

JNC said that the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) sanctioned the proposal for the re-development of the Jowai market at Rs 20.09 crore, of which the first instalment amounting to Rs 6.33 crore was released.

The construction work of the market was stopped and since then it has been lying pending for over a decade. This has affected and dislocated the livelihood activities of the people who are depending on the market.

“In this connection, we deeply urged upon your esteemed office to look into the matter and to initiate new steps by sanctioning funds from the State Government for speedy completion of the re-development of Jowai market (Iawmusiang),” it said.

JNC also reminded that the state government had proposed to establish a Mini Secretariat (Integrated Development Complex) in every district with an aim to bring the administration closer to the people.

After the shifting of the PWD Jowai North Division to Shangpung, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma laid a foundation stone on December 3, 2022, for the Mini Secretariat in Jowai. The government sanctioned Rs 19.83 crore for the same because the present location of the DC office is located adjacent to the market and in the middle of the town, which disturbed the movement of people.

“Therefore, the JNC is of the view that speedy construction of the Mini Secretariat at Jowai will ease the problems faced by the people. And also by completing the Mini Secretariat, it will benefit the people of the district as they will have access to all the departments under one roof,” it said while urging the deputy CM to initiate the construction work or to start functioning the Mini Secretariat at the existing building of erstwhile PWD Jowai North Division on temporary basis,” JNC pointed out.

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