Meghalaya Govt welcomes suggestions given by stakeholders on Inter state boundary row

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The state government on Wednesday welcomed the suggestions given by stakeholders for resolving the long pending boundary dispute with Assam.

 

This was after a consultative meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and attended by the chiefs of the two autonomous district councils – KHADC and JHADC, political parties, traditional heads and members of the civil society organizations.

 

Interestingly, the opposition legislators from both the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) as well as the Congress skipped the meeting.

 

Addressing media persons after the meeting, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said that the state government has accepted the views and suggestions given by the different stakeholders on the issue.

 

“I am happy to tell you that we will go forward. The government will examine thoroughly (the views and suggestions) of the stakeholders as the chief minister will meet the Assam chief minister sooner or later,” he said.

 

According to him, the majority of stakeholders have stressed the need to base the discussion with Assam as per land documents and historical background.

 

Tynsong, who also headed the regional committee for Ri Bhoi, also said that the discussion with the stakeholders revolve around the first six areas of difference which both the governments have agreed to resolve at the earliest

 

“Once they are resolved, the other six locations will also be taken up by next year,” he added.

 

So far only two of the three regional committees have submitted their respective reports to the chief minister. Tynsong however said the regional committee for East Jaintia Hills is expected to submit its report by next week.

 

On the demand for making public the reports of the border panels, the deputy chief minister however said, “Let the two chief ministers sit down and ultimately once the decision is taken we will make it (reports) public. But right now we cannot do that…as we are not supposed to put it in the public domain.”

 

On the other hand, PHE Minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar, who also headed the regional committee for West Khasi Hills, expressed shock at the alleged failure of the opposition legislators to attend the meeting.

 

“In fact I expect the opposition to be with us as they have lots of experiences and they may be able to give us good inputs and discuss with the government but they have not come to this meeting, which I think the reason is best known to them,” he said.

 

Urging them not to unnecessarily criticize the steps taken by the state government, Tongkhar, also HSPDP leader, said, “ I hope they understand the seriousness of this matter as they know it is very important and I wish they will cooperate as this benefits both the states.”

 

The minister further informed that the meeting also resolved to urge all concerned to stand united on this issue.

 

He said boundary problems within a village or hima should be avoided. “We request that we should be united and should not talk about this problem at this point of time while we are in the process of solving the border area with the government of Assam,” Tongkhar said.  

 

“It is very important for the villagers to stand united and understand very clear where they want to be whether they want to be part of Assam or want to be part of Meghalaya, it is very important the villagers at the village they should stand united and speak in one voice that will help both the governments to come to conclusion and solve this problem once and for all,” he said.

 

When asked if the six areas of difference can be resolved within this month, Tongkhar said, “I must appreciate the steps taken by CM to talk to Assam CM and we hope that if we can get same respond we may be able to solve some of the villages or sectors but that I cannot assure you anything let the talk take place between the two governments but from our side we would that to happen as a Christmas gift to some of the villages if we can agree to solve and decide within this month itself.”

 

BJP state president Ernest Mawrie said that the party has suggested that since Meghalaya is going to celebrate its 50th year of statehood, this is the right time to resolve the boundary dispute once and for all.