1st CM-level meet held to resolve Assam-Meghalaya border issue
Shillong, July 24 (IANS): The first Chief Minister-level meeting to resolve inter-state border troubles between Assam and Meghalaya was held here on Friday with both sides deciding to remove the disputes in the 12 bordering locations in a phased manner.
After the maiden meeting with his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the next CM-level meeting would be held in Guwahati on August 6, and if necessary, both of them would visit all the 12 disputed sites.
“We have agreed to go beyond the status quo in resolving the border disputes between the two states. Claims and counter claims would be discussed thoroughly and a solution towards the vexed problem would be reached as soon as possible in a phased manner,” Sarma told media persons.
An Assam government statement said that after detailed discussions between the chief ministers along with the concerned officials, both the state governments have decided to adopt a pragmatic approach and move from status quo to solution.
“It was a very fruitful discussion. We came to a common understanding and we are firm and committed to resolve the border disputes,” the Assam Chief Minister said, adding that in view of the contradictory claims, there would be more discussions and reviews so that a lasting solution can be reached.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Sangma, while thanking his Assam counterpart for his visit, said that since it is a long-pending issue, it would take some more time as well as consultations to reach an amicable and accepted solution that is agreeable to both the states.
Terming Friday’s meeting as ‘historic’, Sangma said that the inter-state border issues would be taken up on priority, as both the states are committed to resolve the long-pending issues.
The Meghalaya Chief Minister said that delay in resolving the issues has led to problems in the inter-state border areas, and there have many instances of violence as well.
He said that resolving the issue is not simple and it would require many consultations, adding that the local issues, history and factual data would be considered to move forward and find a practical and acceptable solution.
Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua, Director General of Police Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta, Meghalaya Chief Secretary M S Rao, Additional Chief Secretary R V Suchiang, Commissioner and Secretary R Lyngdoh and Secretary (Home and Political) C V D Diengdoh were present in the meeting.
Inter-state boundary disputes between Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh during the past several years have witnessed many violent activities and skirmishes among the security forces and the people living along the boundaries of these states.
Encroachment in the border areas, and various unlawful activities, including attacks and abductions, infrequently took place along the inter-state borders of the north-eastern states, occasionally leading to major incidents.
Central para-military forces have been deployed in some of the inter-state borders to prevent further escalation of violence.
Assam shares borders with six other north-eastern states — Nagaland (512.1 km), Arunachal Pradesh (804.1 km), Manipur (204.1 km), Mizoram (164.6 km), Tripura (46.3 km) and Meghalaya (884.9 km).
Of the inter-state border troubles in the north-eastern region, the Assam-Mizoram border disputes witnessed many violent incidents since October last year.
The Assam-Mizoram border predicament was tamed last year following the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, top Home ministry officials and Chief Ministers of both the states, following which Central paramilitary troops were deployed along the borders to prevent further trouble after a series of clashes and blockades on National Highway 306.
However, since June 29, the troubles along the borders of the two north-eastern states have resumed after the two states accused each other of encroachment of either territories.
According to Assam police, since October last year, several inter-state border skirmishes have taken place along the 164.6 km Assam-Mizoram border in which one man was killed, over 50 were injured, besides causing large-scale damage to properties of government schools and homes of the bordering people.