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Rebels hamper job scheme
Published on 3 Aug. 2010 11:59 PM IST
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An increase in criminal activities by Garo hills-based militant outfit Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), has affected the smooth functioning of the Centre’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in East and South Garo Hills of Meghalaya.
A senior government official said the fear of the movement of militants in the evening compelled several villagers of East and South Garo Hills to leave for home early without completing the work under the employment scheme.
The Garo hills outfit continues to serve demand notes and send text messages, asking the block development officers and other government officials to pay several lakhs of rupees to the militants.
The employment scheme makes it mandatory for the block development officers to conduct field visits to several villages and assess the progress of the work undertaken by the villagers.
Official sources said government officials were wary of visiting far-flung villages in Garo hills because of the movement of militants.
According to officials from Garo hills, there is a link between the growth of militancy and lack of development.
Hence, it is high time that a concerted effort was made by the home department to contain the growing threat of the outfit.
The officials said as no one can work under threat, the progress of many central and state government schemes would be affected and halt development activities of the Garo hills region. The officers working at the grassroots level wanted the intervention of higher-ups and an action plan to deal with the situation.
After the Garo-hills based militant outfit ANVC had entered into a ceasefire with the government, there had been relative peace for the past six years.
However, last year, the militant outfit led by the former Meghalaya deputy superintendent of police, Champion Sangma, has been carrying out rampant extortion and trying to procure arms.
The police said the outfit also has a tie-up with the NSCN (I-M) and ULFA.

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