Meghalaya Building Bye-laws: An unending saga of conflicts and confusions
SHILLONG, Feb 7: The saga of unending conflicts in Meghalaya continues with the division between two governing bodies in the state – state government and the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council growing ever wide over several legislative issues.
The latest amongst the issues is the alleged encroachment by the Meghalaya Urban Development Agency (MUDA) into schedule tribe areas, the same of which has created a lot of confusion amongst the people of Meghalaya.
The public gathering organised by the General Executive Committee of Laitkor Dorbar Pyllun at Madan Laitkor, Shillong here on Tuesday to oppose the MUDA encroachment into the Sixth Scheduled Areas witnessed a huge participation of local heads, public representatives like Ardent Basaiawmoit, HS Shylla besides residents of Laitkor and others.
Condemning the government's alleged move to by-pass the district council and encroached into schedule tribe areas, the CEM of KHADC PN Syiem expressed disappointment over the bridge of misunderstanding created by the government even as he alleged the government of trying to confuse the people.
"We have to preserve our community and to protect our customary practices and identity," Syiem said adding that if the state was given free hand in all the matter without the district council, "The whole system would collapse marking the end of traditional practices of the tribes of Meghalaya."
He also called upon the people to be united for a common cause and also urged the MDCs in the council to stick together and address the threats posing to the survival of the community.
The KHADC chief also calmed the angry and disappointment crowd stating "Don't worry. We will use the provisions of the 6th Schedule to preserve and protect our rights."
It may be mentioned that recently, the Chairman of Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya John F. Kharshiing has asserted that there is no difference between the KHADC (Land Development and Building) Regulation, 2015, and Meghalaya Building Bye Laws, 2011.
He maintained that both laws are similar and include the provision of obtaining an NOC for building permission, drawing plans by engineer/architect and both authorities (MUDA and KHADC) will have to collect labour cess. He added that both laws have stringent provisions relating to number of storeys and uphold the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the National Disaster Management Authority.
It may be mentioned that last month, the PDF coalition in KHADC has informed that it will file a fresh petition in the Meghalaya High Court vis-à-vis the government's implementation of building bye laws.