KHADC, stakeholders meet over Sixth Schedule amendment ahead of Parliamentary Standing Committee’s visit

Shillong, Jan 16: A meeting of members of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) was held on Thursday on various issues concerning the proposed amendment of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.

The MDCs and stakeholders decided that a unanimous voice should be presented on various issues related to the proposed amendment.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Home Affairs headed by Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma will visit the state on Saturday evening.

MDCs belonging to the United Democratic Front (UDF) and members of the Meghalaya Indigenous Tribal Constitutional Rights Movement (MITCRM) which comprised of the Synjuk Ki Nongsynshar Shnong ka Bri U Hynñiewtrep (SNSBH), a conglomerate body of headmen, Khasi Students Union (KSU), Federation of Khasi Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP), Hynñiewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) and others attended the meeting.

MDCs from the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) did not attend the meeting chaired by KHADC chief executive member, Latiplang Kharkongor.

Kharkongor said that invitation was sent to all members of the district council.

The objective of the meeting was to come up with a unanimous decision on issues related to the proposed amendment of the Sixth Schedule before meeting with the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

On the other hand, SNSBH general secretary RL Blah informed that the meeting has resolved to entrust the KHADC with regards to the proposal to increase the number of seats in the district council.

“The Council want that the number of elected seats should be increased to 35 and one of the two nominated seats to be reserved for women,” he said.

He also informed that the stakeholders will reiterate their demand for the removal of the word ‘Unrepresented Tribes’ and Para 12 A from the proposed amendment to the Sixth Schedule.

Blah said that the deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong had assured them that the state government is also in the same page and will submit memorandum to the PSC in line with the aspiration of the people.

When reminded that the state government had earlier last year recommended for increasing the number of seats in the KHADC to 40 instead of 37, Blah said, “When we met the PSC in New Delhi, there was no consensus and this is the reason why the PSC has decided to visit the state to take views and suggestions from all stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, Blah further informed that the meeting has also resolved to meet again on January 18, before meeting the PSC members as he appealed to the UDA members to set aside differences and to put issues concerning the people of the state before anything else.

According to him, the meeting was convened by the KHADC was based on the request of the stakeholders. “We therefore request the UDA members to attend the meeting to be held at the KHADC on January 18,” he said.

To another query, the SNSBH general secretary said the demand to remove Para 12 A was to ensure that powers of the Governor is restored. “We want that Bills passed by the ADCs to be cleared on time bound,” he said.