Guwahati: Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here on Monday ruled out the possibility of introducing Inner Line Permit (ILP), which is currently enforced in several northeastern states to regulate the entry of non-natives and protect the identities of indigenous people, in Assam.
Mr Sarma said, “There will be no ILP. How can Assam have the ILP system...it can’t. In fact there is no proposal to government for ILP in Assam.”
Pointing out that enforcing ILP in the state will only bring negative development Mr Sarma said, “How will work continue in Guwahati? Assam’s unemployment figure will shoot up by three folds if people cannot come to tea gardens, Oil India Lim-ited, ONGC...if investors and traders cannot come here. Assam is the gateway to northeast. How can there be ILP here.”
Mr Sarma further said that even the MHA panel on providing constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to Assamese identity, which recently submitted its recommendation to Chief Minister Sarbananda Son-owal, has not made any straight reference to ILP.
“In my interaction with some members of the panel at a personal level, I was told that the committee has made no direct reference to ILP for the state,” Mr Sarma added.
The system of travel restrictions, a British law, Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) of 1873, was still prevalent in several areas of the state for 147 years until it was withdrawn by a Presi-dential order in December 2019. At present the system is in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. Recently the system was extended to Manipur. The clarification of the minister came in the wake of media reports indicating that a high power committee formed by ministry of home affairs to give recommendation on implementing the clause 6 of the Assam Accord has proposed introduction of ILP in Assam also.
However, a member of the committee and senior advocate Nilay Dutta said, “I have noted with concern that completely misinformed and speculative discussions are going on on the recommendations of the Committee.”...