218 families from Them Iew Mawlong seek land pattas
SHILLONG, June 06: The land at Them Iew Mawlong was handed over by Hima Mylliem to Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) in 1954 for the purpose of constructing sweepers’ quarters and construction of a shopping complex. This was revealed by Acting Syiem of Hima Mylliem, Ricky Nelson Syiem here on Wednesday, adding that the Hima can take back the land if it’s misused.
He informed that Hima Mylliem had signed an agreement with the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) for two plots of land in 1954. The two plots of land handed over to SMB include Plot A - measuring 21,837 sq ft and Plot B - was 11,577 sq ft.
“The agreement which was signed in two parts was to allow the SMB for accommodating for the sweepers’ quarters and the other was for construction of shopping complex,” he said.
Admitting that the Sweepers’ Colony cannot be misused for any other purposes, he said that if there is any violation of the agreement, the Hima can always object. Quoting the 64 year old agreement, said the agreement clearly states that if the Board fails to utilize the land for the purpose that it was given, the Hima can always take back the land.
He added that the Hima is proposing to expand the Iewduh market which at present is faced with congestion problem, if the land is returned by the Board.
Mentionably, the current episode of violence in Shillong has much to do with the contentious land at Them Iew Mawlong, also called Sweeper’s Colony. The violence was sparked off by a small altercation between three local boys and some harijans women residing in the colony during morning hours of May 31, 2018. While a compromise had been reach between the two parties, but by evening a mob of over 500 gathered at Motphran demanding eviction of the harijans from the area, while pelting stones at security forces and hurling petrol bombs on adjoining buildings and vehicles, leading to severe breakdown of law and order problem in the city.
Further, Syiem informed that 218 families from the minority Sikh community residing at Them Iew Mawlong have applied for land pattas from the Hima, but so far the Office of the Hima Mylliem has not issued any land pattas to them.
An emergent executive committee of the Hima was recently convened following the violent protest demanding relocation of the Harijans from Them Iew Mawlong.
On going through the records maintained by the office of the Hima, Syiem said it has been found out that four land pattas were issued by the suspended Syiem Latho Manik Syiem in 2009. He said the land pattas issued on “humanitarian ground” in four places was for the purpose of construction of the Gurudwara, Guru Nanak School, Shiv Mandir and Durga Mandir.
“However, these four land pattas were cancelled by the Hima in its order issued in 2010 following stiff opposition from several pressure groups,” he said. The Hima in its order had cited that the cancellation was due to “unavoidable circumstances”.
Aggrieved by the decision of the Hima, the acting Syiem said that the people from the Sikh community residing at the Sweepers’ colony subsequently sought the intervention of the Court, which had directed the Hima to conduct a hearing before taking a decision on the matter.
He also revealed that despite the Court order, the Hima till now is yet to conduct the hearing to hear the Sikh population.
“We have to fight to get back the land by taking legal recourse and ensure that Sweepers’ Colony is relocated from the area,” he said.
Meanwhile, the acting Syiem informed that the Hima has already submitted all the relevant documents to the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council. “If the HLC wants, we can also share these documents with them,” he said while expressing that it would be better if the HLC can co-opt representatives from Hima as members of the committee.
According to him, there is a need for state government, KHADC and Hima to work together on the issue.
The MDA-led state government has constituted a high level committee (HLC) headed by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong to find a permanent solution to the issue relating to relocation of the Sweepers’ Colony.