Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has assured to pursue the issue related to the long-pending boundary dispute after the installation of a new government in Assam.
“Now Assam is facing its elections, so only when the new government is installed, we will pursue this matter with the new government in Assam counterpart to take the discussion forward to see how we could find an amicable solution to this problem,” Sangma said while replying to a short duration discussion moved by Congress Nongpoh MLA Mayralborn Syiem in the Assembly on Monday.
The Chief Minister informed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, talks between the two states could not be held last year.
“Last year in the month of January – February, we had communicated to the government of Assam that we need to meet to discuss the border issue at the chief ministers’ level and (I also had) verbal communication with the chief minister of Assam during that time was that we should meet sometime during the month of April, last year.
However, even after the communication was sent to the Assam government because of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit us, those talks could not take place in those points in time,” he said.
The Chief Minister also assured to look into the demand by the opposition members for stopping the illegal construction of the transit camp by the Assam government at Khanapara in Ri Bhoi district.
“Let me assure…that we will take necessary steps to discuss this with the Assam government and to figure out how we can ensure that this kind of incidents don’t take place in the future also,” he said.
He informed that the Ri Bhoi deputy commissioner has submitted a detailed report on this issue on February 25.
The Ri Bhoi has already written to the concerned DC of Kamrup to intervene and stop the construction of the transit camp and that it be kept in abeyance.
“So steps are being taken and in this regard, we have always ensured there is a process that is followed and therefore most of the times at the OC level or at the SP level and the DC level, these are resolved. If it cannot be resolved at that level, it scale up to nodal officers and if it cannot be resolved at their level, it escalated up to the chief secretary level. Therefore, there is a process that is followed,” he said.
On development schemes under the inter-state border development programme, Sangma said this programme has a very small budget of Rs 3-4 crore for the entire state and at the end of the day, these are more like untied kind of a programme, which amounts to Rs 30 lakh to Rs 40 lakh which are implemented in different constituencies along the border. Therefore, these are not very significant schemes as such.
Stating that the entire development of the border is a process that takes place through all line departments, he said whether it is PHE, PWD, education, tourism etc, a large amount of investment is made through these line departments.
“There is a gap that may occur that is why interstate boundary and border development fund was kept but as I said it is not a large amount, therefore, it is not that this money not coming in or not being sanction will lead to a large defect in the development process, development takes place through the line departments,” he said.
“We are hopeful to be able to sanction some funds in the next financial year for the interstate border development as the current amount is not very large.
Of course, every rupee matters but the point is that large developments through the PWD and other departments are taking place,” he added.