Explained: Assam-Meghalaya border dispute and today's ‘historic' agreement | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Explained: Assam-Meghalaya border dispute and today's ‘historic' agreement

By, New Delhi
Mar 29, 2022 07:02 PM IST

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 but the new state had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971.

The Assam and Meghalaya governments on Tuesday signed an agreement to resolve their 50-year-old border dispute in six of the 12 locations, with Union home minister Amit Shah calling it a "historic day" for the northeast. The pact was signed in the presence of Shah and chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya Himanta Biswa Sarma and Conrad Sangma respectively.

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma (L) and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma with Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.(PTI)
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma (L) and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma with Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.(PTI)

"It is a historic day for the Northeast," Shah said at the function held at the ministry of home affairs in New Delhi.

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The effort to resolve the boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya gained pace in recent times.

What’s the dispute?

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 but the new state had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, leading to dispute in 12 locations in the border areas.

What are the 12 locations?

Upper Tarabari, Gazang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah, Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, Khanduli and Retacherra.

Major point of contention

Meghalaya's Langpih district, bordering the Kamrup district of Assam, in West Garo Hills, is a major point of contention between the two neighbouring states. Langpih was part of the Kamrup district during the British colonial period but after India's Independence in 1947, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya. Another point of contention is the Mikir Hills, which Assam considers to be its part. Meghalaya has questioned Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills, now Karbi Anglong region, being part of Assam. Meghalaya says these were parts of erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.

Efforts made so far?

The two states have formed border dispute settlement committees. Recently, Sarma and Sangma had decided to set up two regional panels to resolve the border disputes in a phased manner. According to Sarma, five aspects were to be considered in resolving the border dispute --historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, mood and sentiments of the people concerned and the contiguity of the land.

Six points, including Tarabari, Gijang, Hahim, Baklapara, Khanapara-Pilingkata and Ratacherra, were in consideration in the first phase.

What happened on Tuesday?

Out of the 12 points of dispute between Assam and Meghalaya, the six areas with relatively less critical differences were taken up in the first phase.

The Union home minister said with the signing of the agreement, 70 per cent of the border dispute between the two states has been resolved.

There are 36 villages in the six places, covering an area of 36.79 sq km, with regard to which the agreement has been reached.

The two states had formed three committees each in August last year to go into the vexed boundary question. The constitution of the panels had followed two rounds of talks between Sarma and Sangma where the neighbouring states resolved to settle the dispute in a phased manner.

According to the joint final set of recommendations made by the committees, out of 36.79 sq km disputed area taken up for settlement in the first phase, Assam will get full control of 18.51 sq km and Meghalaya 18.28 sq km.

(With inputs from agencies)

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