‘No submission of documents to support land ownership claims in Sweepers’ Colony’

Shillong, Oct 11: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has informed that nobody has come forward with any documentation to claim ownership rights over the land at Them Iew Mawlong.
Speaking to journalists today, Sangma said that the High Powered Committee had given the opportunity time and again for different stakeholders or individuals or groups to come and submit any kind of documentation that they have to claim or counterclaim the ownership or gift or whatever the land they have.
“Sadly, nobody has come forward with any kind of information to the High Powered Committee. Therefore, as per the report of the High Powered Committee, nobody came forward with any documentation in spite of being given multiple opportunities,” he added.
The Chief Minister was reacting to the recent claim made by the Secretary of the Harijan Panchayat Committee (HPC) Gurjit Singh that he has all documentary proof that the land at Them Iew Mawlong was ‘gifted’ to them by the then Syiem of Hima Mylliem.
Speaking to the media last week, Singh also claimed that the Meghalaya Land Transfer Act, 1971 is also not applicable in their case.
“I have all the documentary proof given by the Syiem of Hima Mylliem. In 2008, Latho Manik Syiem (then Syiem of Hima Mylliem) gave us a declaration which copy was given to all departments of the Meghalaya government,” he had said.
“(Moreover), we have been staying (in that land) since 1853 and the Land Transfer Act application was after 1957, so that land act will not apply in our case,” he further asserted.
The HPC had rejected the recommendations of the High-Level Committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong for relocation of the Sweepers’ Colony from Them Iew Mawlong.
Singh had said that there was nothing mentioned in the 1954 agreement that the land belongs to the Shillong Municipal Board. “You go through that agreement 1954, I have that agreement, I will show you,” he said.
He also questioned the move of the Urban Affairs department to take over the land. “Once gift is given no one can take it back. So how is the Syiem of Mylliem again giving this land to other persons that mean Shillong Municipal Board and Urban Affairs department?” he quipped.
Stating that the issue is still pending before the Supreme Court as well as the High Court, the HPC secretary slammed the Syiem of Hima Mylliem for taking the resolution (to hand over the land to the government) adding, “He (Syiem) is misleading the local people. Again it will be very dangerous for us because we are a minority in the state of Meghalaya. So many people came from Punjab they were also assaulted by the mob that is very dangerous for us.”
He further alleged that the issue is again being taken up due to the upcoming by-election.
The agreement signed between the Syiem of Hima Mylliem and the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) in 1954 has clearly stated that the Hima is at liberty to resume the land at Them Iew Mawlong if the terms of the agreement are violated.
The agreement signed by the then Syiem of Hima Mylliem Joy Manick and L Pal Chaudhuri vice-chairman, Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) was for two plots of land measuring 21,837 sq ft (Plot A) and 11,577 sq ft (Plot B).
“If the plot is used in contravention of the terms of the agreement, the Syiem in Durbar will be at liberty to resume the land,” the 67-year-old agreement read.
The high-level committee was constituted by the state government to find a feasible solution for the relocation of the Harijan’s Colony from Them Iew Mawlong following the 2018 violent protest at Motphran.