Meghalaya: Inauguration of entry-exit point at Umling deferred to Dec 21
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Meghalaya: Inauguration of entry-exit point at Umling deferred to Dec 21

The deputy chief minister (Dy CM), Prestone Tynsong will be inaugurating the entry-exit point on Dec 21 instead of the CM.

SHILLONG:

The Meghalaya government on Wednesday postponed the inauguration of the much-awaited entry and exit point at Umling in Ri Bhoi district to December 21.

The facilitation centre was previously scheduled to be inaugurated by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma on December 16. However, sources informed that the date was deferred since the CM is under quarantine after he tested positive for COVID-19 recently.

The government cannot further delay the inauguration of the entry-exit point at Umling as tourism is going to be opened from December 21.

The deputy chief minister (Dy CM), Prestone Tynsong will be inaugurating the entry-exit point on Dec 21 instead of the CM.

The proposed entry and exit point would have three to four counters as well as designated COVID-19 counters. Aside from this, there will also be a counter for the Tourism department and the District Administration for registration purposes.

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Speaking to reporters, Tynsong allayed fears of harassment of the genuine citizens of Meghalaya at the proposed gate by district authorities.

“Our permanent residents, be it tribal or non-tribal residents, should not panic at all,” he said.

Reacting to a question on proof of identity for the citizens of the state, the Dy CM said that genuine residents, who are going out or coming back to the state, need only produce their EPIC card or permanent Resident Certificate issued by their respective deputy commissioners at the entry and exit gate.

Meanwhile, the tourists visiting the state have to provide details like address, EPIC card, information about their destination and the duration of stay in Meghalaya.

To a question on the Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) Amendment Bill, 2020, Tynsong expressed optimism that the governor would soon give his assent to the bill. He also said that the entry-exit point would serve both as a COVID-19 checkpoint as well as a facilitation centre for tourists visiting the state.

“By setting up the entry and exit point, we don’t mean to discourage people from coming here but, we want to encourage people who come here for business, investment or tourism purposes,” he said.

The pressure groups of the state have been demanding to make all entry and exit points in the state functional. Reacting to this, the Dy CM said the work is in progress adding that land has been acquired in some places and the entry and exit points at Bajengdoba and Ratacherra in Garo Hills are likely to be constructed by 2021 or 2022.

It may be recalled that the idea of setting up entry and exit points in the state was conceived way back in the year 2014-15 when Meghalaya was witnessing aggressive pro-ILP agitations. It was during this time that the then Congress government came up with an alternative to the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the form of the Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) 2016.

(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)

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