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Shillong: Meghalaya Education Minister Rakkam A Sangma has said that the unavailability of land has led to the delay in the construction of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) in the state.

The education minister, however, assured that the construction work of EMRS will start this year.

He said that a one-month time period will be given to the blocks to make land available for the construction of the Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) failing which they will shift the schools to other locations where land is available.

The government of India under the Tribal Affairs Ministry had sanctioned about 40 Eklavya Model Residential Schools.

Advisor to the education department HM Shangpliang said, “The stakeholders who are involved in the construction of the schools have been called for a meeting with the Education Minister. We are going to review the situation so that we can start the construction as soon as possible.”

“Land has become a major factor as the blocks have to provide 15 hectares of land free of cost and that is the policy of the Government of India. But there are also reports that there are some blocks where land has not been made available and therefore the government will be giving just one month time more to search and provide the land. Otherwise, we are going to shift those schools to somewhere else where the land is made available,” he added.

Stating that the construction of the schools is already delayed by 4-5 years, Education Minister Sangma said, “We are already late but it is my commitment to start the construction of EMRS by this year.”

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The education minister further said that he will be meeting the deputy commissioners of all the districts and will review the status of the construction of these 40 (EMRS) across the state.

“I will be having a review meeting next week with all deputy commissioners of the districts. We will take up the issue with the land owners and will ensure that the state government takes up the responsibility of providing jobs to landowners as compensation.”

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