Shillong: Meghalaya Cabinet on Wednesday approved the recommendations made by the three regional committees on the interstate boundary between Meghalaya and Assam.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said these, along with recommendations from the Assam government, will now be forwarded to Union Home ministry for further action.

The CM also added that both the state chief ministers will meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday to take the matter forward.

Without giving out many details, Sangma said, “The MHA will have to come to a final conclusion, but the structure has been reached, more or less, after a long drawn exercise between the two states.”

The three regional committees constituted for site visits and interaction with residents recently submitted their findings to the respective chief ministers as talks between Assam and Meghalaya regarding six “less complicated border areas out of the 12 areas of differences” came to a conclusion.

At least four formal rounds of chief minister-level talks between the two states, coupled with a few closed-door and one-on-one meetings, have been held since July last year in a renewed bid to move away from the “status-quo” trend and resolve the five-decades-old issue on a “give-and-take” formula.

Assam CM meets party leaders, groups over Meghalaya border issue

Meanwhile, keeping the regimen of stakeholder consultations going before arriving at what Assam has to part with or take in the six disputed areas to start with, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday held deliberations with representatives of all political parties at the state guest house in Koinadhora.

Apart from ruling BJP, leaders from the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), United Peoples’ Party Liberal (UPPL), Opposition parties such as Congress, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and CPI-M attended the meeting.

“Our efforts to resolve the Assam-Meghalaya border row have started bearing fruits as six of the 12 areas of difference have been identified for resolution in the first phase. A roadmap for amicable settlement has been prepared based on the recommendations of three regional committees with representatives from both the states,” chief minister Sarma later said after apprising party representatives of the progress of the talks.

According to sources, decisions have been taken on the give-and-take formula applied to “a disputed area of 36.79 sq km” in the six border areas comprising Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillingkata and Ratacherra – falling under West Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi, East Jaintia Hills districts in Meghalaya and Kamrup Metro, Kamrup and Cachar districts in Assam.

The three regional committees formed by the Assam government on the inter-state border row had earlier submitted their reports and the findings of inspections made by the committees were discussed during the meeting.

Addressing media persons after the all-party meeting, West Guwahati MLA and AGP leader Ramendra Narayan Kalita said a decision was arrived at in the meeting, and accordingly, “some portion of Pillingkata (along the Kamrup Metro-Ri-Bhoi inter-state boundary), a small portion of Boklapara, which falls in my constituency, West Guwahati, and some portion of Lampi (Langpih) in Kamrup district will be given away to Meghalaya.”

He said that these areas have had disputes for the past five decades, and despite several meetings during the period, no breakthrough was arrived at.

The focus of the chief minister-level talks on the Assam-Meghalaya border row has been on historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, contiguity of the land, willingness, and people’s sentiments.

The chief ministers of the two states will meet Shah before making a “final agreement” even as efforts are being made to make the final call ahead of Meghalaya’s 50th statehood day on January 21, 2022.

Conrad Sagma re-elected president of National Peoples’ Party

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