Meghalaya-Assam border dispute: CMs to meet on Sunday
File photo: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (left) and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma

Shillong: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday refused to share with legislators any details or the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya relating to the border dispute “to avoid misleading the House”.

The chief minister’s response came after a question was raised by East Shillong MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh on the status of the phase 1 of the inter-state boundary talks. The CM said a joint MoU was signed by the two CMs on January 29, 2022, which he said was submitted to the Union home minister on January 31 for further examination and consideration.

The government is awaiting further discussions with the MHA and the government of Assam on the matter, the CM said, adding that details of the dialogue would be shared at an appropriate time.

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In a supplementary question, Umroi MLA George Lyngdoh questioned the reason for the delay in sharing the details of the MoU in public domain. Sangma responded by saying that there were several reasons and that the full and micro details were difficult to share since these were “matters of finer details”.

Sangma cited an example about Gizang Reserve Forest area, saying the two sides have deliberated on the reserve forest and Malchapara village to be in Assam.

“The finer details here include agreeing on the point where the forest ends or clarifying if the environment ministry requires a buffer zone of 500 metres. If I give a statement that it will be from this forest reserve then I am misleading the House,” Sangma said.

He added that until and unless Survey of India, Govt of Assam and Meghalaya, as well as the Government of India don’t go into the finer details of whether or not it will be from border of the last tree of the reserve forest, this could be a matter of several acres that were are talking about.

“I do understand in the process the members and public would want to know and that’s why I have shared the information upto the level I felt would not be changed,” mentioned Sangma.

He further added, “I would refrain from giving a statement that might not stand correct after the final meeting takes place. To avoid misleading the House and the public, we have restrained ourselves from giving out micro details till it is finalised.”

MLA Adelbert Nongrum also urged the government to ensure that before reaching final stage with the GOI the MoU should be made public before a blunder is made.

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