Outsiders now need to register with govt

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Meghalaya cabinet clears amendment to Residents Act

HT Bureau

SHILLONG, Nov 1: Outsiders who wish to come to Meghalaya now will have to register with the government for safety and security. The decision to implement the registration process was taken by the Meghalaya cabinet on Friday by amending the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 to facilitate outsiders to registers with the state authorities.

The amendment to the act seeks mandatory registration of outsiders for entering the state. The proposed amendment has been approved by the state cabinet in the form of an Ordinance.

“Any person who is not a resident of Meghalaya and intend to stay more than 24 hours in the state will have to furnish document to the government. This is done for their (outsiders) own interest as well as for the interest of the government and people of Meghalaya. They will be much safer,” he said.

Deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong said, “By amending the existing Act, people from outside who come in the form of tenants, labourers, tourists and other purposes of the visit or stay, will have to register for their own interest as well as for the interest of Meghalaya.”

“In 2016 when this act was in place, the focal point was only about tenants,” Prestone added while speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting.

He said the decision was taken after several meetings were held with the different stakeholders including political parties and NGOs.

“We will redraft the existing rules too to ensure simplest procedures are in place for registration, and we will also do the registration online,” he said.

Tynsong said that various district task forces would be more proactive, and they would be strengthened to ensure they function well and ensure no delays or inconveniences caused to the people.

“Any person who fails to furnish the information will be liable for punishment under section 176/177 of the Indian Penal Code,” Tynsong informed.

Tynsong, however, said that this system is not related to the Inner Line Permit (ILP), because the amendment was for giving more teeth to the present act.

“The amended Act has been approved and it will come into force with immediate effect. It will be regularised in the next session of the state Assembly,” he said.

“Any person who is not a resident of Meghalaya and intend to stay more than 24 hours in the state will have to furnish document to the government. This is done for their (outsiders) own interest as well as for the interest of the government and people of Meghalaya. They will be much safer,” he said.

Employees of the Centre, state and District Councils are exempted from the purview of the Act, he said.

The Meghalaya Residents, Safety and Security Act, 2016 (MRSSA) was passed by the then Congress led MUA-II government as part of a comprehensive mechanisms to check illegal immigration, in lieu of the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

The instructions had been given to all landlords to make sure that papers were in place and they should inform the traditional community heads (Rangbah Shnongs, Dollois  and Nokmas), the deputy chief minister said.

According to him, the amendment to the Act is “inclusive and safe”.

“We will redraft the existing rules to ensure simple procedures for registration, and also allow online registration. Once the rules are ready, it will be placed before the cabinet,” he said.

The deputy chief minister said that the district task forces headed by the respective deputy commissioners will have to be more proactive.

He said any person, who willfully fails to furnish the information or provide false document, will be liable to be punished under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

There was an increasing demand to enhance vigil against influx of non-indigenous people in the hill state, following the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

The updated final NRC, which validates bonafide Indian citizens of Assam was released in August this year with the authority conducting the exercise shutting out the citizenship claims of over 19 lakh applicants.

Meanwhile, the cabinet has also approved the Meghalaya Charcoal (Control of Production, Storage, Trade and Transit) Amendment Rules, 2019, proposed by the Forest and Environment department.

The amendment was brought in to restrict the usage of charcoal, produced within the state, in ferro alloy industries and the units have to procure it from outside, Tynsong said. Production of charcoal for local consumption (mostly for cooking purposes) is still allowed, he added. (With agency inputs)

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