Shillong: Amid the tension at Iongkhuli village along Assam-Meghalaya border, Mawhati MLA Dasakhiat Lamare has condemned the Assam government’s recent attempt to remove electric posts installed by the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) in the area.
Umru village in Block II, which falls under Lamare’s Mawhati constituency in Ri-Bhoi district, is one the 12 disputed areas along the Assam-Meghalaya border.
“In my constituency, there have been many problems but we try to solve them peacefully. I have visited the border areas in my constituency several times. In Ri-Bhoi district, as per my knowledge, this is the first time that such an incident has happened,” said Lamare.
The MLA said that in Block-II, Assam police personnel at times come for small projects and schemes but then they try to resolve it because there’s always a dispute.
Banking on the recent talks held between Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma, Lamare said that he was hopeful that they will be able to find a solution soon.
Asked about his opinion on Assam government police personnel to the site, Lamare said that it is for their protection and that protection goes to our people too.
“One should not misunderstand that sending police personnel to border areas means to fight people from Meghalaya, it is for the protection of their people as well as ours,” added Lamare.
Lamare also denied claims that the state government lacking manpower. “As soon as the incident happened, the home department deployed several personnel. If there was a lack of manpower, by now, the fight would still be going on and many people would have died,” he explained.
Urging people to maintain and promote peace, Lamare claimed that the fault is never with the state government. “There are times when these differences happen because of the local people living there,” he added.
“I have experienced many things in my constituency in Block-II. Problems start because of the people living there, So we can’t blame the government alone. As representatives, we have to promote peace as much as possible and find the most reasonable solution for both the sides,” said Lamare.
Asked if his constituency faced any challenges in implementing schemes or any developmental projects, Lamare said that there were some that they have been able to complete without any disturbance from either of the two sides.
However, there were some schemes which are being affected, said Lamare. “As per my knowledge, we have an accord that says whatever the development schemes will be availed in these border areas should be implemented with an understanding from both sides. There are times when Assam doesn’t honour this accord,” added Lamare.
On July 26, tension flared up between the two states after Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) tried to set up electric posts at Iongkhuli village. The Assam government said Meghalaya made an alleged attempt to install electricity posts on Assam land in the Khanapara area near Guwahati, while the Meghalaya government said Assam Police forcefully removed electric posts laid by MeECL at Iongkhuli village in Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi District.
During the altercation, a Member of District Council (MDC) Charles Marngar was also allegedly manhandled by Assam police. Following this, several leaders condemned the incident.
After this incident, chief minister Conrad K Sangma had also reached out to Assam CM and communicated that they should maintain peace. “Accordingly, CM Himanta Sarma also agreed and instructions were given that there should be maintenance of peace in that area. While discussions on different issues in the border are going on already there is no need to escalate or create tension,” Sangma said on July 27.
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