GUWAHATI: The third round of ministerial-level border meetings between Assam and Mizoram was held here on Thursday with both states resolving to maintain peace and offer mutual support in the pursuit of an amicable resolution of the vexed inter-state boundary row.

The Assam delegation was led by border protection and development minister Atul Bora while the visiting Mizoram delegation was led by home minister Lalchamliana.

Another joint statement was signed by the two states wherein it was mutually decided that the Mizoram government would furnish a list of villages, their areas, geospatial extent and ethnicity of people and other relevant information within three months to support their claim on the villages along the border with Assam.

Both states resolved to constitute regional committees from both sides, which will examine the information provided by the villages as the two states move towards arriving at an amicable resolution of the vexed border issues.

The Assam government extended full cooperation wherever sought during the three months as Mizoram gathered information.

Among other decisions encapsulated in the joint statement, both sides agreed to abide by the resolutions of the joint statement signed in Aizawl after the first round of ministerial-level talks on August 5, 2021, ten days after clashes between police forces of both states along the border during which six policemen and a civilian died while around 60 persons were injured.

“Both sides agreed to continue their resolve to maintain peace and harmony on the inter-state border among communities living on both sides with a view to further strengthen their age-old ties,” the joint statement read.

The high-level delegation from Mizoram expressed that there has been huge unrest among the areca nut growers in Mizoram on account of problems being faced in the transportation of their produce to Assam and other parts of the country.

“Both sides agreed to refer the issue to the respective chief ministers to evolve an amicable solution. They also agreed to continue a sustained zero-tolerance policy against transportation of smuggled areca nuts from other countries,” the statement read.

“The Assam government has, under the strong leadership of chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, initiated concrete steps to resolve the inter-state border issue with Mizoram and foster peace and friendship with the neighbouring state,” Assam border protection and development minister Atul Bora said after the meeting here on Thursday.

Mizoram and Assam, which share a 164.6-km-long inter-state boundary, had a long-standing border dispute.

While Mizoram claims that the 509 square miles stretch of the inner-line reserve forest was notified by the British in 1875 as its actual boundary, Assam maintains that the map prepared by Survey of India in 1933 demarcates its constitutional boundary. However, there is no ground demarcation between the two states.

It may be recalled that Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga had met in New Delhi on September 21, 2022, to review the second ministerial-level meeting on the inter-state border issues held at Aizawl on August 9, 2022.

A joint statement issued after the second minister-level talks had said that economic activities such as cultivation and farming along the border areas would be allowed to continue regardless of the administrative control presently exercised by either state at such locations, subject to forest regulations and after informing the deputy commissioners concerned.

“Both the states agreed to promote and maintain peace and to prevent any untoward incident along the borders, the deputy commissioners of the bordering districts of both the states shall meet at least once in two months,” the joint statement, inked in August, read.

Also read | Assam tea garden health unit suffers from staff shortage, allege residents

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