In a twist to the on-going imbroglio over relocation of Punjabi Lane residents of Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, the Harijan Panchayat Committee of the Punjabi Harijan Colony has rejected the ‘terms of reference’ of the high level committee constituted by State Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.
The panchayat committee on Monday has asserted that relocation was not acceptable to them.
The headman of the Harijan Panchayat Committee, South East Mawkhar, Billu Singh shot off a letter to the Chief Minister in this regard on behalf of the stakeholders of Punjabi Lane.
The letter was also signed by the president of the City Gurdwara Management Committee (CGMC), Gurjeet Singh.
Singh also said that the stakeholders of the Punjabi Lane do not agree to be relocated.
Meanwhile the residents have asked the State Government to develop the area.
The committee in the letter ‘requested’ the State Government to ‘draw up a plan to develop’ the Punjabi Lane that ‘accommodates the rights and needs of the stakeholders’.
Singh further said that on several occasions in the past, the stakeholders of Punjabi Lane had won cases in the High Court against the government’s move to evict or interfere with the rights of the stakeholders of Punjabi Lane.
The letter also pointed out that it was a matter of concern that the president of the City Gurdwara Management Committee (CGMC), Gurjeet Singh received a letter from Ricky Nelson Syiem, the Acting Syiem, Hima Mylliem, requesting him to be present at the Sweeper’s Colony on June 18 to participate in a ‘first hand survey’ of the Punjabi Lane.
The letter stated that the survey was being done ‘before executing the directions of the high level committee to conduct another survey with the State Government, Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council and others’.
The letter from the headman while welcoming the Chief Minister’s initiative to find a solution to the issues faced by the stakeholders of Punjabi Lane, stated that the panchayat, CGMC and stakeholders of Punjabi Lane do not accept the ‘relocation of the Punjabi Lane as a term of reference of the committee’.