Assam-Meghalaya boundary dsipute: Solution still a distant dream?

Assam-Meghalaya boundary dsipute: Solution still a distant dream?

By Our Reporter, TNT News | Shillong, April 19, 2018: 

Even after 46 years of attaining statehood, it seems the long-pending interstate boundary dispute with Assam is still far from being resolved.

The state has witnessed number of discussions and talks at the level of Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries over the past many years but both states have not been able to arrive at any conclusive decision, till date.

This issue was discussed at every assembly session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and the response delivered by either the chief minister or his cabinet colleagues of the previous as well as the present government, is the same — Discussion is on.

Yesterday, during the assembly session, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma reiterated that all emphasis will be made by the Government to take all possible measures to arrive at a final and logical solution to Assam – Meghalaya border dispute.

He maintained that the Inter-State Boundary between Assam and Meghalaya as defined by the North Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 has been a bone of contention between the two States.

“Four decades have passed by since the re-organisation of the two States, and all the steps taken by the two Governments have not been able to resolve the contentious issues”, the Chief Minister told the house.

There are 12 areas of differences at present between Assam and Meghalaya. These are as follows – Upper Tarabari, Gizang Reserve Forest, Hahim area, Langpih area, Bordwar area, Nongwah Mawtamur area, Pilangkata Khanapara area, Deshdemoria area, Khanduli area, Umkhyrni Psiar area, Areas of Block I and Block II and Ratacherra area.
“We are trying to talk to Assam and to find an amicable solution; the discussion is going on at the chief secretary level, so let the discussion continue. It is not appropriate for me to say when will it be resolved? How will it be resolved? It is a complicated issue which is there since the inception of the state so we are trying to move forward in this but in the process we want to ensure that our people don’t suffer; most importantly, those people living in the border areas should not suffer because of the dispute that two states,” Conrad told newsmen here on Thursday.
Furthermore, he stated “There might be differences in our maps and in our records we possess, we stand by our records, we stand by our claim that these areas are within Meghalaya but Assam also stand by its own counter claim therefore discussion are on.”
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma highlighted that the previous government had done its part in trying to chalk out a solution to this vexed issue.

“This issue has taken a lot of time of the government. You can see that the whole proceedings of the august house as the years gone by and in the preceding years, the culmination of all these exercises, discussions on areas of differences, is based on claim and counter claim,” Dr Sangma told reporters today.

The unfortunate incident at Langpih in 2010 was indeed a wake up for both the governments to work out a solution to resolve this long pending problem, to ensure that border residents are not affected.

“After the Langpih issue, we have worked exhaustively and completed whole exercise of documentation to further strengthen our position on the claims of those areas of differences along the Assam-Meghalaya border, in other words, we have reinforced our position in respect to our claims over the areas,” said the Congress leader.

Furthermore, he informed that the exercise was completed between 2010-2013. “We have placed this whole documentation to our counterpart and Assam had maintain that they will require some time to study this and corroborate  their own documents,” he added.

“It is time for government of Assam to mutually agree upon resumption of talks based on this whole documentation so that we resolve this long pending interstate boundary dispute issue,” said Dr Sangma.

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