Nitin Gogoi in Guwahati
Bowing to increasingly xenophobic students organisations and NGOs, the Meghalaya government has decided to bar transfer of land in the state to 'non-indigenous' people.
The state Cabinet on Thursday approved an amendment to clause (A) Section II of the Meghalaya Land Transfer Regulation Act, 1973 that would enable only the indigenous tribes of the state to buy and sell land.
"Land is limited in Meghalaya and we cannot afford to throw it open to everybody," Meghalaya's Information and Public Relations Minister A H Scott Lyngdoh told reporters in Shillong after the Cabinet meeting.
Under the new amendment, only the tribes belonging to Meghalaya -- mainly Khasis, Garos, Jaintias and on a smaller scale Bodos, Kacharis, Hmars and Paite -- will be able to purchase and sell land in the state. None of the other tribes in the north-east would be exempt from this amendment, Scott Lyngdoh said.
He, however, clarified that the amendment will not have retrospective effect.
So far only non-tribals were not allowed to sell or purchase land in Meghalaya ever since it became a separate state, carved out of Assam in 1972. The Meghalaya government's decision has come following the recommendations of a working committee headed by T H Rangad, the state's
Several pressure groups and social organisations have been pressing for such an Act for past couple of years in Meghalaya after they perceived a threat to the current demographic pattern in the state.
Scott Lyngdoh told reporters that the amendment Bill will be introduced in the state assembly in its next session.
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