Meghalaya cabinet minister, 4 MLAs resign before anouncement of poll date
Renikton Tongkhar

Shillong: Meghalaya cabinet minister and chairman of the Regional Committee for West Khasi Hills Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar on Monday said the second joint inspection by the Assam-Meghalaya joint committee will soon be conducted this week.

The members will visit Tarabari, one of the disputed areas between Assam and Meghalaya.

Tongkhar said he has spoken to his counterpart Assam Minister Atul Bora concerning the second inspection but is awaiting his confirmation.

The Meghalaya PHE minister added that they had planned to visit the site today (November 8) but due to officials being occupied with the inauguration of a new district it had to be pushed forward.

“The second visit will be this week and, if not, then definitely next week. I have proposed to Assam Minister Atul Bora to go on November 12,” he added.

He added that the committee plans to visit Tarabari and has requested the Deputy Commissioner of Nongstoiñ to send officials to see if the road is motorable or else they will have to go by a chopper.

Asked about his expectation from the inspection, the minister said they are hopeful that this visit will be as positive as the first one.

“Expect to get a positive response like the first visit. People responded positively and were happy. We didn’t force or advise them about what to speak; we only told them we came from both states and are keen to settle the problems faced by the people over there and want to understand what was on the minds of those who stay in the disputed areas,” explained Tongkhar.

He added that the people spoke facts and reality about the challenges and their demands.

Tongkhar said what the residents had mentioned sounded acceptable for both the states. He also added that the committee is ready to allow other stakeholders who want to join but it depends on the people residing in those areas.

When asked if his area will be the easiest to resolve out of all disputed areas in Meghalaya, Tongkhar replied in the negative but claimed that there is hope.

“I can’t say 100% but I can say this that we will be able to resolve the issue if both states are really keen to resolve it,” stated Tongkhar.

It maybe mentioned that Assam and Meghalaya have constituted regional committees headed by cabinet ministers. The committee members have been asked to hold discussions with their counterparts in the neighbouring state, where similar panels have been set up, and verify the claims and counterclaims made by the two sides, besides resolving differences.

The six areas in question are Tarabari, Gizang and Hahim in West Khasi Hills district, Ratacherra in East Jaintia Hills and Boklapara and Khanapara-Pilangata in Ri-Bhoi district.

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