Guwahati: The 9th chief ministers’ meeting on the Assam–Meghalaya border issue held in Janata Bhawan here on Sunday, decided to form three regional-level committees to solve disputes in six remaining border areas between the two states.
The committees will be headed by cabinet ministers of each state along with members from the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) as three disputes sites out of six falls within the jurisdiction of KAAC.
Within 15 days, both the governments will notify regional committees as the members of the committees after an extensive visit and talking to the local people following the spirit of friendship will iron out differences to find out mutually agreeable solutions amicably.
As goodwill and confidence-building measures, the chief ministers of both the states will also visit the dispute sites and talk to the local people.
Later, addressing a joint press meeting, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that after resolving the six disputed boundaries in the first phase, the remaining boundary disputes will also be solved amicably under the guidance.
“Survey of India has started delineating the border but due to flood and other harsh weather conditions the work was initially slow but now we feel that the Survey of India will resume the work of delineating the border and we hope that the delineation of the borders between the two states will be true to the MoU,” Sarma said.
“On August 8, 2011, the Meghalaya government raised a total of 12 disputed areas and they provided maps of those sites, the govt. of Assam resolved six of those disputes but the other six were left at that point of time because the six that were left were very crucial and complicated and so they were kept for discussion at a later time,” Sarma said.
“Now I think it is time we solve the long pending border dispute between the two states. The six disputed sites are in three districts of Meghalaya and like earlier we have decided to form three regional committees which will be headed by cabinet ministers from the respective states,” Sarma also said.
“The Assam government will notify its three regional committees within 15 days and the same will be done by the Meghalaya government. After the committees of both the states are formed, the chairman of the committees will meet and visit the sites and will hold talks with the stakeholders of the disputed areas to resolve the border issue keeping the MoU in mind,” he said.
“We are committed to resolving the border dispute and have started from our end to resolve the issue with the remaining six disputed areas. Out of these six disputed sites, three of them fall under the jurisdiction of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and it has been decided that members of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council will also be a part of committees, the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council members will also be a part of the resolving this border dispute and will be a big help for Assam as they know the areas well and have a better connection with the people which will be beneficial in making them understand that it is really important to resolve this long pending border dispute,” he said.
“I hope that the second phase of resolving the border dispute will be as smooth as it was in the first phase. The chief ministers of both the states will be available whenever needed in this whole process of resolving the issue,” he added.
Addressing the press, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said: “We have also decided that the second phase of discussion on the six areas of differences which are left namely Khanduli and Psiar, Block 1 and Block 2, Borduar, Langpih, Nongwah, Mawtamur and Desh Doomreah, will be taken up.”
“We have decided in this meeting that within the next 15 days the two state governments will form regional committees for the three areas which are three districts and in this, the respective cabinet ministers of both the states will be the chairpersons of these committees,” Sangma said.
“We have also decided since Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council is there in Block 1 and Block 2 and in Khanduli and Psiar, the members of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council will also be a part of these committees. We have also decided that both I and the chief minister of Assam will visit certain locations like Block 1 and Block 2 to gain the confidence of the people and to show that both the state governments are committed to finding a resolution to the long-pending border dispute, Sangma said.
“Under the guidance and leadership of Prime Minister and Union home minister, both Assam and Meghalaya government have initiated a discussion in the process of trying to resolve the border dispute between the two states which has been there for the last 50 years. In 2011-12, the process of submitting the reports of the areas of differences from the Meghalaya government was done and based on those reports the discussions have moved forward and in the last 8-9 months many interactions, meetings and visits have been made to the disputed areas and the stakeholders of all those areas were heard and based on a very detailed and long drawn process we finally were able to come up with an MoU which was signed in the presence of the Union home minister on March 29,” Sangma said.
“We have come to an understanding in 6 of the areas of differences out of the total 12 areas and based on that MoU, the Survey of India and the two-state government have started demarking the different borders that should be there between the two states and where the pillars should come up. The Survey of India along with the two governments are continuously doing the process and because of the harsh weather conditions and certain people have to be taken into confidence it will take some time but we are doing everything to complete the process in less time,” Sangma said.
Assam chief secretary Jishnu Baruah, his Meghalaya counterpart DP Wahlang, principal secretary to the chief minister Samir Sinha, principal secretary to home and political Niraj Verma, secretary border protection and development Prabhati Thaosen, secretary home and political Meghalaya Cyril Diengdoh and other senior officers of both the states were present during the meeting.
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