The Meghalaya High Court has issued a directive to the state government, urging immediate action in the long-standing issue of relocating the residents of the disputed Punjabi Lane area. The court order, delivered by a bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, emphasized the need for expeditious resolution.
The court's order highlighted the urgency of the matter, stating, "It is hoped that the government takes immediate appropriate action and brings the matter to a close as expeditiously as possible." The residents of Punjabi Lane, however, faced criticism from the bench for misleadingly giving the impression that they had accepted the blueprint presented by the Meghalaya government on the matter just last month.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the residents' actions, the high court remarked, "It appears that the respondents are playing fast and loose both with the government and with the court." In light of this, the court has instructed the state government to provide a progress report on the action taken by July 18.
Earlier, in the first week of June, the residents had informed the high court that they had accepted the blueprint proposed by the Meghalaya government in principle. The blueprint entailed relocating approximately 342 families to a different location. To facilitate this, the state government had announced plans to construct flats on 2.5 acres of land owned by the Shillong Municipal Board.
The issue surrounding Punjabi Lane gained prominence shortly after the formation of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government in 2018. Over the years, the dispute over the settlement has posed various challenges, leading to a demand for the relocation of families residing in the area.
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