Assam, Meghalaya Reach Understanding on Border Dispute: CM Himanta

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Guwahati, Jan 12 (PTI): Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said his government has arrived at ‘mutual understanding’ with Meghalaya  over the six areas of boundary dispute between the two neighbouring states that were taken up in the first phase of a border row settlement.

An agreement on these six points can be expected within this month if civil society organisations and Opposition political parties come on the same page as the governments, he added.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma, the Assam CM said, “We have reached mutual understanding between the two governments today. But it has to be ratified at the larger level.”

“People are involved in this matter, state interest is involved. The government alone cannot decide,” he said.

Sarma said Assam government will hold consultations with Opposition political parties over the matter on January 18 and with civil society organisations, including students and youth bodies, of the disputed areas taken up for resolution.

Meghalaya will also hold similar discussions at its end, he added.

“If by and large the people are receptive of our decisions and we are also convinced about it, we can expect a Memorandum of Understanding between Assam and Meghalaya governments this month itself,” Sarma added.

“In principle, both governments have reached a consensus that our assessments on the disputes are same,” he added. However, he did not reveal the details of the agreement or the land parcels which each side will concede to the other.

Four rounds of chief ministerial level talks between Sarma and Sangma have taken place over the border issue since Sarma assumed office in May last year.

Three committees each were formed by the two state governments in August this year after the first two rounds of talks between Sarma and Sangma to resolve the vexed border disputes in a phased manner.

Out of a total 12 points of disputes, six areas with relatively less critical differences have been taken up in the first phase, with the remaining locations to be pursued later.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will soon meet Union Home minister Amit Shah before taking a final decision to resolve the long-pending dispute in at least six border areas between the two states.

This was informed after the fourth official meeting held between the two chief ministers on the boundary issue in Guwahati on Wednesday.

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 and it had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, leading to disputes related to 12 areas in different parts of the shared 884.9 km long border.

 

 

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