Assam Meghalaya border

Shillong: The Survey of India has been asked to coordinate with Assam and Meghalaya for conducting a joint inspection of the inter-state boundary to redraw the map before a Bill is introduced in the Parliament, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has said.

The two northeastern states have recently inked a historic agreement to end their 50-year-old dispute and resolve differences in six of 12 areas.

“The Survey of India has been asked to do a joint inspection with both state governments. Once that process is completed, we expect the Centre to introduce in Parliament a Bill to redraw the border,” Sangma told reporters here on Thursday night.

He said that the process will take some time, but “what is important is that the ball has started rolling.”

Also Read: Disappointed with TMC’s response to border resolution: Meghalaya CM

The chief minister said that the trust-building exercise between the two states will lay down principles for future engagements.

Referring to an incident of boundary pillars found erected in West Khasi Hills district, he said, “I brought the matter to the Assam CM’s attention and he was very concerned about it and said this shouldn’t have happened. Incidents like these will affect the proper implementation of the process besides disrupting the peace. Both states will ensure that the issue is resolved. People of these areas should not suffer.”

Asked when the two states will start talks to resolve the remaining six areas of difference, he said, “We will catch our breath for some time. It has been tough six months. But I can assure you that we won’t waste any time as we want the momentum to continue with the kind of understanding built between officials at all levels and political leadership on both sides.”

Sangma said that the two state governments will soon take forward the next phase of the talks.

“However, I can’t give a date as of now,” he said.

On the allegation that the agreement was signed hastily, the chief minister said that it was unfortunate that the opposition brought up the matter.

“Discussions were held at the grassroots level and solution was reached only by the will of the people. If there are concerns, we are ready to explain to everybody but a majority of the stakeholders are happy with how we went ahead with the process,” he said.

The chief minister said that the opposition must realise they don’t have to oppose everything the government is doing, and instead work together with the administration for the interest of the state and the people.

“We should remain united as people especially those residing in border areas have suffered for far too long. This can’t go on forever. Hence, we have taken a decision that we will find a solution. I am happy that we have resolved the dispute in six areas and hopefully will be able to move forward in the other six areas also,” he added.

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