Assam-Meghalaya Border Pact: What you need to know
Meghalaya stands to gain 18.33 square kilometer and Assam 18.46 sq km out of the 36.79 sq km in respect to the 6 out of 12 areas of differences resolved between the two states.
SHILLONG: After Tuesday’s border agreement between Meghalaya and Assam, the former stands to gain 18.33 square kilometer and latter 18.46 sq km out of the 36.79 sq km in respect to the 6 out of 12 areas of differences resolved between the two states, according to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by them.
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The MoU was signed between Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma in the presence of union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Tuesday. HT has reviewed a copy of the MoU.
“Out of 36.79 sq km in respect of 6 areas of difference claimed by the Government of Meghalaya in 2011 a total area of 18.33 sq km approximately will be with Meghalaya and 18.46 sq km approximately will be with Assam,” the MoU said.
“Both the state governments also agreed that this MoU shall be full and final agreement in respect of the aforesaid six areas of difference. The areas mentioned in the MoU are approximate and have been arrived at through a table-top exercise using spatial technologies and will be more accurately determined during the detailed survey to be undertaken by Survey of India in presence of the representatives from both the state governments,” it said, while adding, “The sole purpose of this MoU is to settle the inter-state boundary between the states of Assam and Meghalaya in respect of 6 (six) areas of difference out of total 12 (twelve) areas of difference as furnished by the state of Meghalaya vide their letter No. POL.78/2010/209 dated 8th August 2011, for delineation and demarcation with the fixation of boundary pillars on the ground.”
The MoU elaborated that on July 23, 2021, a meeting between the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya decided that of the 12 areas-- Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Langpih (Lumpi), Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah-Mawtamur (Garbhanga), Khanapara-Pillangkata, Deshdoomreah, Block-I & Block-II, Psiar and Khanduli and Ratacherra--, 6 areas of difference – Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillangkata and Ratacherra-- would be taken up for consideration in the first phase.
Subsequently on August 6, 2021, it was decided that regional committees headed by a minister with local MLAs and other officials as members from both sides for the 6 areas of difference covering three districts each on both sides were to be constituted for jointly visiting the areas followed by their independent analysis of the areas of difference using 5 mutually agreed principles – historical perspective, ethnicity of local population, contiguity with boundary, people’s will and administrative convenience as yardsticks.
In pursuance of this decision, the government of Assam vide notification dated September 23, 2021 and government of Meghalaya vide notification dated September 7, 2021 notified three regional committees for Ri Bhoi, West Khasi Hills and East Jaintia Hills districts with terms of reference which included inter alia to coordinate with the counterpart regional committees to jointly visit the villages and interact with the local communities.
The three committees of Assam and Meghalaya conducted joint inspections, visited the six areas of difference, carried out consultations not only with the villagers and local communities living in the areas but also with other stakeholders like political parties and civil society organisations, following which both the chief ministers held a meeting in Guwahati on December 22, 2021 and decided that the regional committees of both states will share their reports with their counterparts by December 31, 2021, the MoU went on to explain.
Finally, both chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya met on January 12, 2022 wherein it was agreed upon that the reports of the regional committees will be consolidated and the joint report of both the states will be submitted to both the chief ministers so that the matter can be taken up with the government of India.
“It was decided that any other areas/villages situated outside the area of difference shown in the maps submitted by Meghalaya vide their letter dated August 8, 2011 will not be considered. Now, therefore this MoU is drawn between the states of Assam and Meghalaya to record the agreed position arrived at between the two states and to conclude the process of joint consultations,” the agreement concluded.