Shillong: With just five more days left for the Meghalaya polls, the opposition Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday accused the National People’s Party (NPP)-led MDA government of indulging in a land scam worth more than Rs. 140 crore with the purchase of 807 acres of land at Mawpdang Mawkhanu in East Khasi Hills district.
Exposing yet another scam of the corrupt NPP-led government, Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma said the party demanded for an immediate look into the matter where the state government had purchased 807 acres of land worth Rs. 140 crore from the middlemen at Rs 85 per sq ft amounting to a total of Rs 298.98 crore, while the actual price purchased from the villagers was Rs 45 per sq ft amounting to a total of Rs 158.28 crore – a difference of Rs 140.7 crore.
“The MDA – which I will refer as Meghalaya Deceitful Alliance – has once again engaged in the modus operandi of looting the state through purchase of around 807 acres of land in Mawkhanu village of Mawpdang. The government had the middleman purchase the land, dupe the innocent landowners and villagers at the throwaway price of Rs. 45 per square feet, and then made a payment of Rs. 85 per square feet to the middleman,” he said.
Sangma said the rates were decided by the state cabinet on October 4, 2021. The Minister-in-Charge for Urban Affairs piloted this proposal and [it was] appropriately approved by the Revenue department.
“All cabinet items are approved by the Chief Minister. Therefore, the documents show that the three persons – the Chief Minister, Revenue Minister, and Urban Affairs minister – have entered into a criminal conspiracy to rob the state of such a huge amount of money – Rs 140 crores – which could have been given to the innocent land owners,” he said, while unmasking the unholy nexus between the NPP-led MDA government and the middlemen of the state.
Slamming the Conrad Sangma-led MDA government for robbing poor people of their lands, the TMC leader asked the Central government to take cognisance of the matter.
“While addressing an election rally, Union Home Minister Amit Shah went hammer and tongs alleging that the state is active in corruption. He (Shah) referred to Meghalaya as the number 1 corrupt state in the country. This has defamed the name of the state and its people. Corruption is not our way of life. Our people are not that greedy. I would urge him to take immediate cognisance of this alleged corruption. Let there be immediate investigation into this [massive land scam],” the former Chief Minister demanded.
Sangma said that the ‘Meghalaya Land Scam’ is only an addition to the increasing instances of graft executed by the NPP-BJP government, including scams such as the Saubhagya Scam, Smart Meter Scam, and Assembly dome collapse Scam.
“The kind of alleged corruption of this scale cannot happen without the patronage of the people in authority…Corruption is more crippling and deadlier than terrorism. There will be no more resources left for development or to create jobs. Through terrorism, people get affected but when you rob the state and cripple its economy, you are robbing every citizen and the future generations,” the TMC leader said.
“TMC as the main Opposition party and as the only political alternative in the state, it was their duty to expose the corrupt, inept, and incompetent MDA government,” Sangma said, adding that the government was answerable to the people for buying land at extremely inflated rates when the villagers had sold their ancestral property for half the amount.
“The land scam is reflective of what is going on in the state…We have seen how corruption has crippled various countries…I wanted to urge the people to come together and rescue the state from the hands of the people who are responsible for making us the infamous state for being number 1 in the corruption,” the TMC leader said.