SHILLONG, March 2 – The Meghalaya Government has decided to issue a notification on the new amended rules under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Regulation Act 1979 (Amended in 1985) in order to speed up the process of implementing Work Permit System in the State.
Implementation of work permit system is aimed at checking the unabated influx of illegal migrants as well as labourers from outside the State.
The government took the decision at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Influx (CCI) attended by Labour Minister Paul Lyngdoh who is also chairman of the committee, besides leading NGOs – KSU, FKJGP, GSU and JSU.
However, the time frame to begin actual implementation of the system in the State is yet to be fixed, as according to Lyngdoh, everything would depend on the speedy action of State Government to fulfill the requirement of the Labour Department which is presently facing shortage of manpower and financial constraint to carry fowrad the task of implementing the system.
“We are optimistic that the government would consider the matter seriously. A total of 252 different posts would be required for strengthening the functions of Labour Department especially for the successful implementation of the work permit,” Lyngdoh told reporters.
He informed that the CCI has also decided that the government should create posts with budget required for the purpose in a phased manner for three years from 2010 to 2013.
Lyngdoh also informed that the meeting decided to constitute a Task Force by involving NGOs to oversee the ground works for implementing work permit system in which its terms of reference would be fixed in the forthcoming meeting of CII.
Stating that the work permit will be valid only for 179 days so that the migrant labourers do not claim the right of permanent residence in Meghalaya or does not get the voting right, Lyngdoh also made it clear that rules made by Autonomous District Councils for issuing labour license or work permit to labourers will not stand as the rules made by the State Government will automatically supercede.
As per rule, if a person resides anywhere in India for six months he is entitled to get the voting right.
The CCI which was constituted in 2007 to work out the modalities for implementing the work permit system has recommended amendment to the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Regulation Act. In 2008, the Cabinet has brought an amendment by attaching new rules to the existing Act which aimed at strengthening the Law Department and authorising Superintendent of Police (SPs) and Officer incharge (OCs) to verify documents of migrants before their registration by Law Department officials, Block Development Officers (BDOs) and district magistrates.
While the BDOs can issue licence or work permit at the local level, DCs and the Labour Commissioner would act as the licensing authority at the district and State levels respectively.