GUWAHATI, Nov 16: Meghalaya and Assam are eyeing the year-end by which it would look to “more or less” resolve issues in the six areas of differences along the interstate border.
The regional committees constituted by the two states will submit their reports after making ground visits to the six areas of differences along the inter-state border by November 30, 2021.
Addressing reporters during a joint conference of the chief ministers of the two states at the State Guest House in Koinadhora here on Tuesday, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that all the three committees would submit their reports to the respective chief ministers by November 30.
“Once the report is on our table, we will meet again and see whether we have a meeting of minds or not. If so, we will consult the stakeholders once again at the state and district levels. We will be issuing a final statement on the six areas of differences and complete the entire process by December 31, 2021,” Sarma said.
Assam and Meghalaya have mutually agreed to find amicable solutions to disputes in six of the 12 areas of differences between the two states, which are “less complicated” in nature.
The six areas of differences are Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilangkata and Ratacherra –falling under West Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi, East Jaintia Hills districts in Meghalaya and Cachar, Kamrup Metro and Kamrup districts in Assam.
“On the issue of agreement, we will issue a final statement. But wherever there are any points of differences, we will continue our deliberations…But we are proceeding in the right spirit as of now,” he said, while adding that it “will be a fitting tribute to our founders if this landmark (border dispute resolution in all the 12 areas) was achieved in a year’s time.”
Sarma further added that the entire border resolution exercise was being monitored by the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, Sarma, along with Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, paid a historic visit to Langpih and interacted with the villagers. “Our visit to Langpih was very fruitful,” Sarma said.
The chief ministers had informal and formal meetings during the day. This was also the first time in the history of the two states that the chief ministers paid a joint visit to a disputed interstate border area.
On the way forward, Sangma said that the long-pending issues would be resolved in phases with the support of everyone. “We should be able to achieve clarity on which villages need to come under the administration of which state,” he said.
Asked whether boundaries would be redrawn, Sangma said that “redrawing of boundaries is something that will require the intervention of the Parliament. But yes, wherever it will be possible for us to at least indicate and come to an understanding between the two states that these would be the lines or points where we will be able to work, we will work out an understanding.”
“Each area has got its own complications…some cases may require more time. But we are very confident that in most of the areas we should be able to find an amicable and acceptable solution,” the Meghalaya CM said.
Thanking the regional committees for their extensive work in the past three to four months, he said the panels were formed precisely “to get a sense of what is happening at the grassroots level and prepare a firsthand report from ground zero, including understanding the mindset of the people.”
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