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Zeliang-Sonowal meet to foster better relations

By EMN Updated: Oct 18, 2016 12:15 am
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal presenting a souvenir to Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang at Kaziranga on Monday.

Dimapur, October 17 : Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang met his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal at Kaziranga in Assam today and held discussion on how to create a more cordial relation between the two neighbouring states.

A CMO release said this meeting could probably be the first ever in the history of the region when the Chief Ministers of Assam and Nagaland got to meet each other on their own accord rather than being invited by Central leaders often after some provocative incidents,.

In an atmosphere of bonhomie, made more so since the two Chief Ministers are good friends having studied in the same school in their childhood days (Don Bosco School, Dibrugarh) and also both having been taught by late PA Sangma in the school, it was more or less a get-together of very good neighbours who have finally found time to visit and pay respects to each other, the CMO release said.

Zeliang was said to have stated that no problem or issue is too big to be solved when parties concerned get to meet each other across the table and discuss with an open mind and with determination to solve the matter. He added that it had been his declared stand that border issues which crop up between the two neighbouring states from time to time should be solved amicably by the people instead of depending on the court to pass a judgement.

The concept of meeting each other is the first step to maintain, nurture and promote cordial and lasting relation, Zeliang said and recalled how Nagaland was once a part of Assam, the release said.

“We had lived together and we shall continue to live together, and so we must live together in peace and harmony, and progress together,” the Nagaland Chief Minister said.

“To achieve this relationship, we have to create a human relation in the true spirit of good neighbours,” the CMO release quoted Zeliang as saying.

He suggested that the border districts of Assam should be encouraged to use the facilities of Nagaland such as Airport and Railway head at Dimapur as “their own”.

Zeliang also suggested protection and preservation of Reserved forests with border areas of the two states like Intangki in Nagaland and Dhansiri forest in Assam etc. and also promised to extend full cooperation to check the menace of poaching of the famed one-horned rhino which is found exclusively in Assam, saying “Rhino poaching is a national problem.”

On the strategic locations of the two States vis-a-vis Act East Policy of the Government of India, the CMO release said, Zeliang suggested road connectivity with South |East Asia from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Manipur- Nagaland-Assam, saying the policy can be successful only if the north eastern states are made active participants in the trade and commerce activities.

In his response, Sonowal said, “Today is a historic day for the two States and we must work together for mutual growth and move forward along with the rest of the country.” He added that differences and issues should be mutually addressed in a spirit of goodwill.

Sonowal responded positively to Zeliang’s invitation to attend this year’s Hornbill Festival, saying that several cultural troupes from Assam should participate in this year’s festival at Kisama, the CMO release said.

The Assam CM suggested setting up of a committee for border areas consisting of local MLAs/ MPs and government officials so that petty issues are tackled mutually at the local level, and also to foster better relations between the peoples.

The Assam Chief Minister was accompanied by several of his Cabinet colleagues, MLAs, Jorhat MP and senior officials led by Chief Secretary Assam, while Nagaland Chief Minister was accompanied by KG Kenye, MP (Rajya Sabha), Dr Imtiwapang Aier, Parliamentary Secretary (G&M), Lalthara, Advisor & Principal Secretary to CM, RB Thong, Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner Sentiyanger Imchen, Commissioner & Ex-Officio Commissioner & Secretary (Border Affairs), LL Doungel, DGP, Himato Zhimomi, Commissioner & Secretary (W & H), Angau Thou, Secretary (Tourism) and other officials of various departments, the CMO release added.

Highlights of discussion
1. Maintenance of peace and harmony along the Assam-Nagaland border and development of friendly relations among the people living in the area.
2. Outreach programmes for people to people contact.
3. Development of cooperation in areas such as:
a. Intelligence-sharing on extremist activities;
b. Crime control in border areas of both States;
c. Cooperation in action against Rhino poaching;
d. Cooperation in updating of the National Register of Citizens in Assam.

By EMN Updated: Oct 18, 2016 12:15:57 am