Guwahati, May 24, 2023, IANS
The Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya convened a second meeting on Wednesday to address the ongoing border disputes between the two northeastern states.
The focus of the meeting was to find resolutions for the remaining six contentious areas along their 884.9 km border.
In March last year, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma signed a Memorandum of Understanding, resolving six out of the 12 disputed areas.
The meeting held in Guwahati was attended by ministerial colleagues and senior officials from both states, and they collectively decided to initiate a process to resolve the remaining six areas.
Chief Minister Sarma announced that in late June, both leaders would visit the districts of Karbi Anglong and West Jaintia Hills, where some unrest has been reported, as a gesture of goodwill.
Regional committees from both states will also visit the disputed areas and engage with local residents and stakeholders. Their findings will be submitted to the respective Chief Ministers. Sarma emphasized that the resolution process would be guided by the longstanding friendship between the two states.
However, no specific time frame was set for resolving the disputes in the remaining six areas, as they are considered complex. The opinion of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, which falls within these areas, is crucial for the resolution process.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Sangma expressed confidence that through discussions and building mutual trust, the differences in the remaining areas could be resolved.
A follow-up meeting is planned for July, where both Chief Ministers, along with other officials, will review the progress made. Sangma emphasized that with the support of the Central government and other agencies, significant strides can be made in resolving the border disputes.
Sangma also mentioned that the Survey of India has been requested to continue survey work in the disputed areas and complete their surveys.
The meeting was attended by Assam Ministers Atul Bora and Pijush Hazarika, Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, Minister Snaiwbhalang Dhar, Chief Secretaries of both states, and senior officials.
It is important to note that last month, Assam's Chief Minister, along with his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart, signed an agreement in New Delhi, in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to settle long-pending disputes along their over 800 km inter-state border.