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Guwahati/Itanagar/North Lakhimpur (Assam): Tension flared up over road construction on a disputed stretch of Assam-Arunachal border at Gogamukh in Dhemaji district, after locals objected to a rural road being built by a contractor of the Arunachal Pradesh government, leading to violence, officials here said on Thursday.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, at a press conference in Guwahati said the deputy commissioners of Dhemaji and Lakhimpur have been directed to sort out the problem through discussions with their counterparts in Arunachal Pradesh.

The incident took place at Hime Basti area under Assam’s Gogamukh police station on Wednesday evening, a senior official said.

“Local villagers from Assam obstructed the construction of the road by Arunachal government. When they went to the site to protest, the contractor involved with the construction fired one round in the air,” he added.

The Arunachal Pradesh government is constructing a PMGSY road of 70 km length from Likabali to Durpai in the district using the services of a local contractor.

Angry people from Assam forcibly stopped the work, damaged a few vehicles and set ablaze the temporary camp built for the road construction gang, the official said.

“On being informed, a team from Assam Police rushed to the spot. We are now dominating the area so that no untoward incident takes place,” a police official said.

Arunachal’s Lower Siang District Superintendent of Police (SP) Kushal Pal Singh said “the issue (dispute) is an old one and Wednesday’s evening incident was between a few locals with vested interests,” adding, security measures have been intensified in the area and the The situation is normal.

He said no government forces or organizations were involved in the incident.

The fracas over the border road takes place just two days after Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on Monday decided to conduct a ground level survey on status of the inter-state boundary to resolve the vexed border row at a chief ministerial level meeting.

Sarma said in Guwahati said that the two states have points of dispute across 122 villages.

“Other than that, if any difference (crops up), then we will sort (it) out. This was one of the decisions we had arrived at in our discussion,” he told reporters, adding that district deputy commissioners from the two sides would sort out the incident which occurred Wednesday.

On January 24, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma held a meeting with his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu to discuss the border issue.

Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share an 804.1-km border in Udalguri, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Charaideo districts. There are 1,200 points of disputes along the inter-state border between the two states.

Arunachal Pradesh was a centrally-administered region initially after Independence and became a Union Territory later, before attaining full statehood in 1987.



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