Shillong: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said the two states will aim at resolving the inter-state border disputes in a phased manner.

For this, both the governments will set up committees to be headed by cabinet ministers of each state, they said.

The committees will aim at resolving the border disputes between Assam and Meghalaya in a phased manner in six of the 12 areas of differences initially, the chief ministers said at a joint press conference in Shillong.

The six disputed border sites between Assam and Meghalaya taken up in the first phase are Tarabari, Gijang, Phalia, Baklapara, Pilingkata and Khanapara.

These areas fall in Cachar, Kamrup Metro and Kamrup Rural districts in Assam and West Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills in Meghalaya.

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Each panel will have five members, including a cabinet minister of each state besides bureaucrats, Sarma said, adding that local representatives may be part of a committee.

Members of both the panels will visit the sites, interact with civil society members and complete discussions within 30 days.

Five aspects, which are to be considered to resolve the disputes, are historical evidence, ethnicity, administrative convenience, mood and sentiments of the people concerned and contiguity of land, Sangma said.

“In principle, we will try to find a solution within the framework of these five aspects”, he said.

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The chief ministers’ level talk on the Assam–Meghalaya border issue was the second such meeting held between the two neighbouring states. The first one was held in Guwahati, Assam on July 23.

The Meghalaya delegation was led by CM Conrad K Sangma, deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong and Cabinet ministers Sniawbhalang Dhar, Lahkmen Rymbui, Renikton Lyngdoh, Banteidor Lyngdoh, Hamletson Dohling, Brolding Nongsiej, Sanbor Shullai, Dasakhiat Lamare and Kyrmen Shylla.

“We are very happy that the meeting was very constructive and positive,” Sangma said, adding, “We have been very clear from both the governments that we want to resolve the area of differences and the disputes that are there between the two states. It has been very long and a lot of people have suffered in different areas because of these differences that have existed.”

“We assure the people that both the States are committed to resolve the complicated issues as well. However, we will start from less complicated issues and will move towards more complicated issues,” Assam CM Sarma added.

The decades-old boundary row between Assam and Meghalaya goes back to 49 years after Meghalaya attained its statehood on January 21, 1972. Over the years, several talks have been held but till date it has not been solved.

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