Prestone Tynsong, Deputy Chief Minister of Meghalaya, urged the urban affairs department on Thursday to include two or three locations in the proposed blueprint for the relocation of the 342 Harijan families of Sweepers' Colony from Them Iew Mawlong.
This came after a strong protest from Mawbah's dorbar shnong opposing the government's decision to allot 3 acres of land near RP Chest Hospital for the development of housing flats to relocate Sweepers' Colony inhabitants.
However, Tynsong, who is also the chairman of the High-Level Committee (HLC), stated that the site near the RP Chest hospital is one of the places selected for relocation, but no final decision has been made.
“Therefore, we have asked the urban affairs department to bring us the blueprint (that will indicate) not only one place but it should be two or three places,” he said.
Tynsong stated that he had met with the head of Mawbah and West Shillong legislator Mohendro Rapsang, and that they had conveyed their dissatisfaction with the relocation of inhabitants from their current position to that area.
“I told them to please be patient as I cannot say anything right now since the blueprint is not in my hand right now. I understand and I respect the sentiments of the local authority so we will try our best from the government to adjust accordingly so that all sides will be happy,” he said.
The Harijan Panchayat Committee recently expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision to relocate them to Mawbah.
According to HPC leader Gurjit Singh, on April 25, the HPC agreed to be relocated from the Them Iew Mawlong on the condition that the state government provides 200 square metres of land to each of the 342 households in the European ward in addition to bearing the cost of construction of their homes.
“However that land (near RP Chest Hospital) is not under the European Ward. Therefore, we will discuss because as per the resolution of our society, we demand land be given in the European Ward,” Singh had said.
When asked, Tynsong however said, “The question of European ward or the question of Khasi ward or the question of Meghalaya ward I think does not arise.”
He said that once the blueprint is ready, a meeting with the HPC will be convened again to sit down and discuss the issue across the table. “I am sure the solution will always be there,” he added.
Concerning the Shillong Municipal Board's (SMB) existing official quarters, Tynsong stated that the SMB office is repairing these units and that once that is completed, it will be the board's prerogative to relocate its staff from Sweepers' Colony to the designated quarters.
Meanwhile, Tynsong insisted that migration is unavoidable since there were no other choices.
“We are waiting for the blueprint and once the blueprint is on the table I will call the meeting of the HPC and we will sit down across the table and we will tell them these are the blueprint,” he reiterated.
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