Assam, Meghalaya resume talks to resolve remaining border disputes
The chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya said they will visit the troubled areas in Karbi-Anglong in Assam and West Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma met in Guwahati on Wednesday and resumed talks to resolve remaining border disputes in six boundary areas between both the states.
In March last year, the two northeastern states had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in New Delhi to resolve 6 of the 12 points of dispute along their border with a give-and-take formula with some of the disputed areas going to Meghalaya and others remaining with Assam.
This is the first time both the CMs are meeting officially to resume talks on border differences after a firing incident by Assam Forest personnel on November 22 last year at Mukroh, a border village which both states claim as their own, claimed six lives, including that of a forest guard, and injured two people.
Talking to journalists after the meeting, Sarma and Sangma stated that a similar formula used while resolving the first 6 areas of dispute will be used this time as well and three regional committees each, comprising cabinet ministers from the two states, have been constituted to prepare the groundwork on it.
The regional committees will visit the 6 remaining areas of dispute, talk to the residents in the border areas, hold discussions with all stakeholders and look into all related aspects before submitting their reports to the two governments.
“In June, both of us will visit Karbi-Anglong (Assam) and West Jaintia Hills (Meghalaya) border areas where some unrest is going on, as a confidence building measure so that people on both sides feel confident that the differences will be resolved keeping in mind the long friendship between people of Assam and Meghalaya,” Sarma said after the meeting.
“This is a new beginning as we are meeting for the first time officially after Sangma became the CM again (earlier this year). I believe that through a process of discussions, mutual trust and confidence, we will be able to resolve the other six areas of dispute much earlier than what we are expecting,” he added.
The Meghalaya CM stated that Monday’s meeting was attended by chairmen of the different regional committees where they went through all the details regarding the disputes in the 6 remaining areas.
“We would like to come to a solution at the earliest. But while the process is underway, we need to maintain peace. Both of us would be meeting again in July to review the reports or the progress of work done by the regional committees. I am very confident that we will be able to move forward in this phase as well. Things are complicated but we believe where there is a will, there is a way,” Sangma said.
He added that both governments have asked the Survey of India to continue with the survey work that is going on in the first six areas of differences--Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilangkata and Ratacherra—which both the states had agreed to resolve.
Both the CMs stated that since the remaining 6 areas of dispute are a bit complicated, they have consciously refrained from keeping a time frame for the regional committees to submit their report on the six remaining areas of dispute-- Langpih, Borduar, Nongwah, Matamur, Desdemoreah Block I and II, and Khanduli.