BY OUR BUREAU
Guwahati/Shillong, April 1: Meghalaya and Assam on Saturday ordered the Chief Secretaries of both the states to re-start their dialogue process to resolve the vexed inter-state boundary disputes.
The decision was taken at a meeting between Assam CM Sarbanda Sonowal and Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma at Brahmaputra State Guest House in Guwahati.
Expressing pleasure at being invited to Assam for talks, Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma said his government has been able to reduce crime considerably in his State and the Assam government has also extended full cooperation in maging crimes at border areas. In this context, he said activities of insurgent groups would be controlled at border areas in near future. As Meghalaya depends heavily on agro-horticulture produce as a mainstay of its economy, the Meghalaya government is committed to facilitating peaceful environment for Assam traders to augment the supply chain of its products, Sangma said.
Stating that illegal earth-cutting in hills would be stopped, Sangma said as Meghalaya shares 433 km long intertiol border with Bangladesh, stopping illegal migration and maging crime at border areas remain key concerns for Meghalaya similar to Assam, and both States must jointly tackle these issues.
Only strong political will can make it possible for both State governments to bring peace and contribute to the development of Northeast region, Sangma added. Meetings between district level officials of bordering districts of both States must also be organised for better cooperation in future, he said.
“The Chief Secretaries of Assam and Meghalaya have been asked to continue the dialogue on the 12 areas of difference,” Sonowal told jourlists after the meeting.
“We have discussed a lot of issues, and it was fruitful. The Chief Secretaries will discuss the boundary dispute. We have also decided to work together for our mutual growth,” he said.
The 12 areas of difference include Upper Tarabari, Gizang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah-Matamur, Khapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah, Khanduli-Psiar area, Ratacherra and Blocks I and II.
The total area of difference is 2,765.14 square km, of which Blocks I and II cover 1,583.42 square km.
Saturday’s meeting was the first official meeting between the two Chief Ministers after Sonowal assumed office in Assam in May last year.
Sangma last held discussions with then Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on June 5, 2010 following the incident in which four Khasi villagers were killed during firing by Assam police personnel at Langpih on May 14, 2010.
“We had a fruitful dialogue and as a follow up of discussions held earlier, more discussions will be held so that both the states can resolve the long pending issue mutually which will be acceptable to both the states,” Sangma added.
Moreover, he said that issues related to disputes would be further discussed at the level of the chief secretaries.
On the Meghalaya Assembly resolution asking the central government to constitute a Boundary Commission to resolve the inter-state boundary imbroglio, Sangma said: “They (Assam) have made their stand but we will discuss mutually.”
In March 2011, the Meghalaya Assembly had passed a resolution to urge the central government to constitute a Boundary Commission to re-examine and redefine the inter-state boundary between the two states.
The Assam assembly adopted another resolution negating the Meghalaya resolution.
Meanwhile, both the Chief Ministers decided to conduct joint operations along the inter-state boundary to flush out militants along the inter-state boundary to ensure peace and tranquility.
“We have also decided to work together to restore the environment and whoever is doing illegal activities like hill cutting should stop, and action will be taken jointly on this issue,” Sonowal said.
M'laya, Assam CMs meet on inter-State boundary disputes
BY OUR BUREAU