Shillong: Claiming that the current NPP-led MDA government has been the only government to visit the disputed border areas along Assam, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said they are hopeful of resolving the issue before Christmas.
The CM shared that he was confident that to some extent some resolution will be made in at least 6 areas out of the 12 areas of differences between Meghalaya and Assam.
“It’s not very simple; a lot of complications are there, though we are hopeful that all 6 areas will be resolved. But it is only once we receive the reports that we will be able to finally understand. It is a process; there is hope and effort is being made. All the chairmen have been working very hard,” he said.
The joint inspection made by the Meghalaya and Assam Chief Ministers on November 16 to Langpih, has led the Opposition to raise questions if the government is in a haste to make certain decisions concerning the boundary dispute.
Responding to Opposition comments, Sangma said the concerns of the Opposition have been noted and that the government was not going to do anything in haste.
“The efforts made in the last two months is extensive. The visits made have never been done before. It is sad that the earlier Congress government did not make any efforts at all. They (Opposition) won’t even know the names of areas of differences, forget the names of the villages, and surely they have never visited those locations also. But this government is making a lot of effort,” claimed Sangma.
Both Meghalaya and Assam governments have maintained that there are multiple factors that come into play – historical facts, current facts, the will of the people residing in the disputed border areas, aspects of contiguity, and seeing what is in the best interest of both the states and finding an amicable solution.
Meanwhile, MLA of Rambrai-Jyrngam (ST) Constituency Kimfa Marbaniang said the people weren’t happy with what the government termed a joint inspection.
“They are supposed to visit the areas of differences like Umali, Mawsikar, but then you’re coming to one place and organising an event. You can’t say that you have an intention to resolve the issue because standing and talking on the stage is very dfferent from visiting the areas,” said Marbaniang.
The MLA added that if the government was serious then they must notify the regional committees to go to the ground and take the views of the public, ask them whether they want to be in Meghalaya or Assam. Marbaniang questioned whether the visit by the CMs was genuine or just a political gimmick.
Bajop Pyngrope, member of District Council (MDC) of Rambrai-Jyrngam (ST) Constituency, said it was sad that they weren’t invited for the joint inspection held on November 16.
“As representatives of the area, we weren’t invited just because we are in the Opposition. It was also absurd that the entire area where the function was held it was written welcome to Lumpi, whereas the local people call it Langpih,” stated Pyngrope.
Saying that there was no question of leaving anybody behind, Sangma clarified that there was a lot of homework to be done and, hence, it had involved and restricted it only to the committees and government officials of both the states.
“Once we get these reports and do our homework, we will not have other stakeholders in it. Once we have something on the table to show everybody then obviously there is going to be an extensive consultation and the district councils, who are very important part of this discussion, will have to be consulted,” mentioned Sangma.
The November 16 joint inspection by the chief ministers of both Assam and Meghalaya saw the regional committees being given a deadline of November 30 to submit their reports on the disputed border areas. The CMs would then hold consultations with other stakeholders after which the governments will issue a final statement on the six areas of differences.
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