Land transfer act to be amended
Sanat K Chakraborty/Shillong
In a major decision of its kind, the Meghalaya Parliamentary Forum (MPF) coalition Government led by Chief Minister E K Mawlong has decided to amend the Meghalaya Land Transfer Regulation Act, 1971 to bar "outside tribes like the Nagas and Mizos' from buying land in the State."
The decision was formally made at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday. Announcing this at a press conference after the Cabinet met, Finance Minister and spokesman of the MPF, A H Scott Lyngdoh, said that this step had been taken in view of the fact that "land had become limited and the Government's first priority is to look after the interests of the State."
Mr Scott Lyngdoh said that "only indigenous tribals like the Garos, Khasis and Jaintias besides Bodos, Kacharis, Kochs, Hmars and Paites be allowed to do so." He did not mention the criteria by which the Government had decided that some tribes were indigenous and others were not.
Scott Lyngdoh said that the Khasi-Jaintia category included the Khasi, Syntengs, Pnars, Wars, Bhois or Lyngngams. It may be mentioned here that the original legislation was enacted in 1971 in response to the host tribes fear of assimilation and swamping out by the non-tribal population. The Minister said that the amendment would be brought before the Assembly in its next sitting. The decision is a major indicator of the trend of the inter-tribal relations in the state in particular and the North East region in general.