Border conflict: call for the support of all stakeholders

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SHILLONG, July 8: The dividing line between Meghalaya and Assam is back in the spotlight after Assam’s chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma says he wants to resolve the controversial issue through a policy of mutual concessions.
While the opposition Congress fears such a strategy in the current scenario, most MDA allies and pressure groups have said consultation with all stakeholders is a prerequisite for discussions on the issue.
“I cannot talk about the give and take policy because we will only know the details during the negotiation process. The government’s position is that the dispute must be resolved and the negotiation process must take into consideration the interests of the people. and the state, ”Interior Minister Lahkmen Rymbui told the Shillong Times on Thursday.
He said the time had come to settle the border dispute. “While we claim that these (disputed) areas belong to us, differences may arise during negotiations. You have to have an open mind for a long term settlement, ”he added.
He said, however, that he had no information on any official talks underway.
The Hill State People’s Democratic Party, a constituent of the MDA, had submitted a memorandum to the state government to hold a consultative meeting on the issue.
Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) chief Titosstarwell Chyne said, “This is a long-standing problem and it is not easy for us to say that we will come to a conclusion. There should be a constructive discussion before we come to a conclusion. “
Referring to the idea of ​​giving and receiving from the Chief Minister of Assam, Chyne said, “It’s a good idea. I would also prefer the same approach, but before making a decision we need to sit down with all the documents so that we don’t have to compromise on our stand. “
He said it is a fact that Assam has encroached not only in the areas of difference but also in other areas that have no difference at all. These also need to be reviewed and addressed, he added.
On the other hand, Congress has declared that the housing expansion along the interstate border is an attempt to derail a similar policy of give-and-take agreed in 2001 between Assam and Meghalaya.
“It is the responsibility of both state governments to ensure that the status quo along the interstate border is maintained before we sit down at the negotiating table,” Umroi lawmaker George B. Lyngdoh said, who spoke very clearly on the issue of the interstate border.
The situation when the former chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and EK Mawlong spoke about the give and take policy was very different from what it is today, the Umroi MP said.
“Over the past two decades, it appears there has been a sinister plan to ensure more housing is built along the interstate border on the Assam side. This is an attempt to derail the policy of give and take agreed two decades ago, ”he said.
He said resolving the border issue would have been easier if the status quo had been maintained since 2000-2001.
“They should review these areas and review this give-and-take political agreement,” he added.
The two states have 12 dispute areas between them – Upper Tarabari, Gizang Reserve Forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah-Mawtamur, Khanapara-Pillangkata, Desdemoreah, Block I and Block II, Khanduli-Psiar and Ratacherra.
The last CM-level meeting between the two states took place in 2017-18 when Mukul Sangma and Sarbananda Sonowal were in charge of Meghalaya and Assam respectively.
In June, Sarma said he was keen to resolve all disputes with neighboring states.
“I believe that any conflict between neighboring states can be resolved with a give and take approach. Our efforts would be to find solutions and put an end to conflicts with our neighboring states, ”he declared.
The central government wants the northeastern states to resolve their border disputes by next year.


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