Talks with anti-railway groups on July 19, three groups hold public meeting at Nongpoh

Shillong, July 13: As many as 13 pressure groups including the Khasi Students Union (KSU) were invited for talks next week, following strong opposition against railway project.
According to sources, the government has informed the 13 groups that it wanted to have a discussion on issues related to implementation of comprehensive mechanisms to deal with influx problem. The discussion will be held at the main secretariat on July 19 at 3 pm.
Last week, the State government was supposed to call the groups for discussion on the issue on July 11 .
However the invitation to the groups was put off as the Chief Minister Mukul Sangma was busy, and re-scheduled the meeting on July 19.
The Khasi Students Union (KSU) is spearheading the protest against railway project and demanded that strong mechanism should be implemented first to check influx instead of constructing railway line in Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills.
The 20.5km railway line from Tetelia in Assam’s Kamrup district will link with Byrnihat in Meghalaya’s Ri-Bhoi district. The Central govenrment has also proposed to extend the railway line about 108km from Byrnihat to Mawdiangdiang (New Shillong).
Construction of the Tetelia-Byrnihat railway line inside Meghalaya has been put on hold after the KSU members organised a protest at Ronghona, the railway station site in Ri-Bhoi district on May 27.
Meanwhile, three groups – Federation of Khasi Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP), Hynñiewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) and Ri Bhoi Youth Federation (RBYF) – which supported the Khasi Students’ Union’s protest against railway project, held a public meeting at Nongpoh on Thursday.
The groups highlighted the negative impact of railway line if it is allowed to be introduced without putting in place comprehensive mechanisms that can check influx problem.

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