A tribal rebel group in Meghalaya has submitted a fresh memorandum to the Centre seeking a special autonomous council with more autonomy powers and direct funding from the Centre.
The Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC), presently under a ceasefire with New Delhi for the last five years, has sought the immediate creation of a self governing body for the Garos in the three districts of Garo Hills to be called the Garoland Autonomous Council with adequate powers and direct funding, the group said in a statement to the media last evening.
The Centre had last month rejected a demand the group’s demand for a separate Garoland state. The Joint Secretary (Home) in-charge of North East, Naveen Verma had made it clear that if ANVC wanted a rehabilitation package, it has to leave aside its demand for Garoland.
“Though we submitted a memorandum towards the creation of a separate Garoland state to the Prime Minister we understand such a move is not possible until the formation of a State Reorganisation Commission,” ANVC publicity secretary Arist Sengsrang N Sangma said.
Under the Garoland Autonomous Council, the ANVC wants rapid economic and educational growth, preservation of the cultural identity of the Garos, preservation of their land rights and socio-ethnic identity of its people and to speed up the infrastructure development in the GAC areas.
Political talks between the outfit and the Union government is scheduled to begin this month.
According to the ANVC, the GAC will be completely different from the present Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) with more autonomy powers and direct funding from New Delhi without having to channelise it through the state government.
As per the GAC proposal put forward to New Delhi by the ANVC there will be 30 directly elected members and four nominated one. The new council is to have 38 departments including Education, PWD, PHE, Excise, Administration and Justice among others.