New Shillong – a township for Non-Tribal Rich (and a few tribal ones too)

New Shillong Township has never been free of controversy. First, govt. became a land agent by buying off land from many dubious landowners and displacing indigenous farmers and residents, then parcelling out the land to IAS officers, both tribals and non tribals. Now in its ‘smart’ avataar, Meghalaya govt. has opened a floodgate for Tribal land alienation. THE MEGHALAYA TRANSFER OF LAND (REGULATION) ACT, 1971, first ever law made by the state of Meghalaya, which prevents sale of Tribal land to Non Tribals has no meaning in New Shillong Township.
Just check out the list of applicants for land in NST obtained by Agnes Kharshiing under RTI Act. The list is followed by an analysis by Raiot, which reveals that 42% of the applicants are for the land are Non Tribals. Also worrying is the fact that many governmental entities seeking land in NST are security agencies like Army, CRPF, Police and BSF. NST has nothing to do with decongesting the city but is a gated haven for real estate developers and property speculators.

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WHO APPLIED FOR LAND IN NST?

Category No. of applications
Govt. Organisation 60
Private Companies/Organisation (Non Tribal ) 23
Non Tribal Individuals 38
Tribal Individuals 24
145

APPLICANTS CATEGORISED ACCORDING TO LAND TRANSFER ACT

Government entities 41.4%
Non Tribal according to land transfer act 42.1%
Tribal according to land transfer act 16.5%

Photographic essay by Wanphrang Diengdoh

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