While a high-level delegation of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA 2.0) is all set to visit New Delhi to demand for the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya, Speaker of Arunachal Pradesh Assembly, Pasang D Sona, has warned the state terming the ILP as a “double-edged sword”.
Speaking on the sidelines of the concluding day of the two-day, 20th annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) India Region Zone III in Shillong, Sona said that ILP is a great tool to protect the ethnicity and interest of the indigenous people, but once implemented, it may deter investments in the state. Putting the ball in the court of the ruling MDA 2.0, Sona said that it’s up to the Meghalaya government to prioritise if it wants to attract investments to the state or protect the culture, resources and indigenous population of the state.
Sona, however, clarified that Arunachal Pradesh doesn’t plan to do away with ILP any time soon and hence has simplified the process of securing a permit for the visitors by making it online. “ILP is a mental block as people do not want to permit to visit the state,” he said.Sona’s remarks on the ILP as a deterrent to investments in the state is sure to get the government ponder as it may come in the way of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s vision of making Meghalaya a $10 billion economy as announced during the budget speech in May.
Meanwhile, voices for the implementation of the ILP in the state has been gaining steam ever since chief minister Sangma announced that the government is mulling over conducting a study to explore the possibilities of introducing railway line to Khliehriat, the district headquarter of East Jaintia Hills, on July 6. Many pressure groups in the state – Khasi Students Union (KSU), Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) and Jaintia Students’ Movement (JSM), among others – have toughened their stand against the railways saying they will only allow railway lines if ILP and other anti-influx machinery is effectively put in place in Meghalaya.
Earlier in 2019, the Meghalaya Assembly had adopted the resolution to implement ILP in the state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 and since has been waiting for the Centre’s nod on the matter.