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Assam, Meghalaya form regional panels for border settlement

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K. Sangma and their Ministers and officials meet at the Assam Administrative Staff College in Guwahati on August 6, 2021 to discuss the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K. Sangma and their Ministers and officials meet at the Assam Administrative Staff College in Guwahati on August 6, 2021 to discuss the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute.

The Assam and Meghalaya governments on Friday decided to start settling the “less complicated” areas of dispute along the 884.9 km border between them before moving on to the more complicated ones. They also decided to form three regional committees each to first get the views of the people living in the disputed areas and prepare a recommendation within 30 days for a decision at the level of the Chief Ministers.

The decisions were taken at a meeting between Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K. Sangma in Guwahati.

“Today’s [Friday’s] meeting was a follow-up of the July 23 meeting we had in [Meghalaya capital] Shillong. We agreed that the disputes have carried on for far too long and things need to be settled amicably and respectfully,” Mr. Sangma told reporters after the meeting.

“We agreed that some areas of differences are less complicated, some are more complicated and the rest very complicated. We decided to approach the issues phase-wise and start with six of the 12 disputed areas that are less complicated,” he said.

These areas are Upper Tarabari, Gazang Reserve Forest, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilangkata and Ratacherra involving West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts of Meghalaya and Kamrup, Kamrup (Metropolitan) and Cachar districts of Assam.

The more complicated areas of dispute are Langpih, Borduar, Nongwah, Matamur, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, and Khanduli.

“The Meghalaya government gave a presentation with their perspective on the issues during the July 23 meeting. Today, we presented our point of view, and after a threadbare discussion, we found it would be more convenient to start with the six locations,” Dr. Sarma said.

“There will be three five-member regional committees for as many districts on both sides, each headed by a Cabinet Minister. The committee members will visit the disputed sites, interact with people and give a presentation based on the feedback within 30 days,” he stated.

The committees would be tasked with narrowing down the differences for a decision to be taken at the level of the Chief Ministers. A decision on settling the border disputes permanently would be taken after all the differences are addressed.

Nagaland House resolution

The Nagaland Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution for resolving the border dispute with Assam out of court and amicably with the involvement of the local people of both the States.

Assam and Nagaland share a 512.1 km border with volatile stretches that have claimed at least 150 lives in more than five decades.

The resolution came days after the two States signed a memorandum of agreement to withdraw their police forces from the Dissoi Valley Forest, one of the disputed stretches of the border.

A case pertaining to the Assam-Nagaland border dispute has been pending in the Supreme Court and Central forces have been deployed along the trouble-prone stretches.

Nagaland and Meghalaya were carved out of Assam in 1963 and 1972.


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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 9:45:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/assam-meghalaya-form-regional-panels-for-border-settlement/article35761405.ece