As many as 40 organisations from Assam have threatened to block all routes going into Garo Hills in Meghalaya from October 29 after the stalemate in discussions over allowing entry to Assam traders and businessmen.
The organisations include — All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), All Moran Students Union (AMSU) and other trade associations.
The organisations, which met this week at Krishnai in Goalpara district of Assam, have promised to block all routes if the two states fail to hold discussions and ease restrictions imposed by the state of Meghalaya on traders and businessmen from Assam due to the scare of the pandemic.
“When the entire country has opened up for trade and movement, why is Meghalaya still making special restrictions? The MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) has very strictly directed states not to impose restrictions on trading and movement of people, so why is the Meghalaya government adamant?” asked the organisations.
The organisations added that the restrictions imposed were only on residents from Assam and outside. However, there were no such restrictions in place for residents of Meghalaya to travel through Assam.
“It is unfair that they can come and we can’t go. If they want to impose a ban on entry, their residents should also not enter the state of Assam. We will stop all vehicular movement from Meghalaya coming into Assam between Daranggre and Agia (limited to Goalpara district for now),” said the organisations.
The organisations stated that the restrictions imposed by Meghalaya have hit small businessmen between the two states and given rise to a new wave of middlemen, who take goods from Assam and sell in Meghalaya for a much higher price.
“The common man in both states is suffering due to these restrictions. You can feel it in the skyrocketing prices in Meghalaya for common goods. Here the tourist vehicle industry has been hit along with traders who have shops in Meghalaya but have not been able to run their shops as they are denied entry. How will the government compensate these losses?” they asked.
The organisations had earlier threatened a complete block in the route but had not done so due to the Durga Puja festival.
This time, we are determined to make good on the promise and stop all Meghalaya vehicles from coming into Assam through Goalpara district, the organisations threatened.
They had also met the Goalpara district administration with their grievances and had been assured of a common ground being worked on.
However, until now, this assurance has not borne fruit.
The district shares a long boundary with Garo Hills with all entry roads to the region having to go through Goalpara.