Shillong’s Punjabi Lane dwellers get more time to prove legality of stay


Shillong: The Shillong Municipal Board (SMB) has extended the deadline till August 30 for dwellers of Punjabi Lane to furnish documents proving the legality of their stay, officials said on Wednesday.

The civic body has issued fresh notices after none of the residents of Punjabi Lane, which falls under Them Iew Mawlong area, responded to the previous notice served on them in June, a senior SMB official said.

“The notices were served to the residents and it is in their interests that the board has asked the settlers to submit legal documents claiming to be residents of the area,” a senior SMB official told PTI.

Punjabi Lane, inhabited by ethnic Punjabis mostly engaged in sanitary works, was the epicentre of month-long ethnic clashes last year.

An incident of assault in the area in May last year sparked ethnic clashes following which curfew was clamped down in the area for over a month.

The Land Transfer Act of the state prohibits non-indigenous people from claiming ownership over any land except in areas known as ‘European Wards’. Them Iew Mawlong area is not a European Ward.

Following the clashes, the SMB formulated an inventorisation exercise to determine the legal residents of Punjabi Lane.

In a report to the High Level Committee formed by the state government over the issue, the civic body had identified 184 government employees and their families settled legally in Punjabi Lane.

This includes families of 128 SMB staffers and 56 employees of various other government departments.

There have been demands from various quarters for relocation of Punjabis from the area. PTI