Where lies the problem of border dispute: Dispute or Discussion
SHILLONG: The interstate and Indo-Bangladesh border issue is indeed a vexed and a long-pending issue but what raises more concern is not on 'how many times the leader sits around a table' but it is basically on the plight of the people living in the border areas.
It sounds easy for our leaders to say, 'the matter is under process and talks are on'. If dialogue was a way out of this problem, then there is no dearth of it when it comes to solving the interstate and international border problems in Meghalaya.
However, nothing concrete has so far emerged out of these dialogues and the problem of dispute, be it interstate boundary or international border has turned into mere discussion with only varied venues and assurance.
The State and the country may have attained its statehood and independence but have it completely included everyone within its jurisdiction.
For most, the answer is definitely 'yes' but if the same question is asked to a person living in the border areas, the answer is 'It feels like we are not Indians'.
The border issues have posed a great difficulty for the people living in the villages bordering neighbouring state Assam and neighbouring country, Bangladesh.
An incident at Huroi village in East Jaintia Hills District where people have to avail medical help all the way from Bangladesh due to the non-functioning of a PHC located in that area, is a perfect example of 'Negligence' and the fact that these people no longer consider themselves as citizens of India, doesn't seems to worry the law makers.
Lack of medical facilities coupled with pathetic road conditions has completely detached this small village bordering Bangladesh, from the rest of the state. In line with this, the residents of Huroi village irked the negligence and ignorance shown by the state government towards their plight.
According to the Rangbah Shnong of this village Sakhaios Khonglah, "We feels abandoned by both the central and State government and such hardships forces the people to look more towards the neighbouring country for help and support. So if they say 'Im no longer feel like an India' is not wrong."
Similarly, the people living in the areas bordering Assam and Meghalaya have expressed the same feeling. It may be mentioned that two years ago, the people living in the border areas have come forward to asked the NGOs of Meghalaya to stop sorting out things on their behalf because, it is not them (NGOs) who suffers, it is the people.
Make peace and not war was the call of the residents of Block-II and members of the Block –II Area Peace and Development Association, BAPDA, perturbed by the delay of the Assam and Meghalaya government in solving the interstate boundary row besides fearing the recurrence of the horrific past history of unrest erupting out of the interstate boundary row between the two state.
Alarmed by the horrific past history heads of the Khasi, Karbi, Tiwa and Nepali residents of the disputed Block-II area under the banner of Block –II Area Peace and Development Association, BAPDA has expressed their willingness to settle as a part of any of the state citing peace and development as their major concern.
Voicing out their concern for the early settlement of the boundary row in order to lay the growing fear of unrest amongst the inhabitants to an end, BAPDA, President Piu Sten had said, "We call upon the State government of both the State to sort out the problem at the earliest and amicably," further adding, "We don't mind if we fall in Assam or Meghalaya as long as there is peace and development."
These are only a few examples of the misery suffered by the people living in the border areas and if the government takes more time in solving the problem, the feeling of being forsaken with build up leading to the complete loss of faith in governance both in the Centre and the State.