Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday said Meghalaya will never agree to surrender areas which belong to the state to Assam.
Replying to a special motion on the prevailing issue related to the border dispute between Assam and Meghalaya, Sangma said when it comes to the definition of ‘give and take’, this is one of the areas both the governments are looking for resolving the vexed problem.
“We are looking at if it is possible that Meghalaya and Assam can agree to agree on certain villages which are in Assam are in Assam and which are in Meghalaya are in Meghalaya without any kind of confusion,” he said.
“We are very clear in our mind that if there is going to be an area where Meghalaya says it is impossible for us to surrender, there is no question for us to agree to the terms and conditions of Assam,” Sangma also maintained.
The Chief Minister informed that Assam has made it clear on the need to start discussing the areas which both the states can agree on and try to move forward to find a solution.
Stating that all these years discussions have end up only maintaining status quo, he however said, “We felt we need to come out of this mode and try to find a way where we could start resolving bit by bit and build up confidence of the people and the two governments and the government of India that we as a government, as a house we are serious in resolving it.”
“This is the approach we are looking at and that is where the give and take comes in but as I said the question of giving the areas that we don’t agree upon there is no question of going to that level. We will not agree on areas where we are very sure that these are the areas of Meghalaya and only areas we agree to agree we will move forward,” he further added.
The Chief Minister also informed that after discussion with the Assam counterparts, a full drone survey of the six of the twelve areas of difference, which both the states have agreed to resolve.
“We have micro details, even a single tree or a plan or an electric pole that is there up to that micro level. We have mapped the entire areas, we know how many houses in each village- these matters have been discussed in detail,” he said.
According to him, unofficially the government has also discussed with the public of these areas and tried to understand the sentiments that the people have out there.
The six areas of difference include Tarabari (4.69 sq km), Gizang (13.53 sq km), Hahim (3.51 sq km), Boklapara (1.57 sq kms), Khanapara-Pilangkata (2.29 sq kms) and Ratacherra (11.20 sq kms).
The Chief Minister further maintained that the reasons behind the decision of the two state governments to first resolve these six areas of differences is because they are small and less complicated compared to other six areas.
“That is the reason why we have gone for areas which we felt that we could actually find a way forward. That’s the reason why these six areas were selected first.”
Sangma however maintained that the government is not saying “we are going to resolve all the six of them”.
This also came after recent meetings held between the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya.
Sangma said, “I am not here and neither this MDA government is here to tell you that we will find a solution today or tomorrow or within a month’s time.”
“The desire is of course there, the will is there and we want to find a solution to this but to be able to tell and guarantee that we will find a solution to this it is obviously something that I cannot say at this point in time simply because of the fact that this issue has been there for a very long time and it is a very complicated and long pending issue.”
On the setting up of the regional committees, the chief minister said that this is to ensure the two governments can talk but that does not mean such committees will only be restricted to the five members.
“The responsibility of the five member committee will be to have a huge broad discussion with all the stakeholders including traditional heads, civil society organizations, elected members – everybody will be consulted before we chalk out the approach and the plan with which we move forward or the claims or counterclaims that we make – I can assure the House that every stakeholders as far as possible will be consulted in the process.
This is the way we will move forward and we are hopeful that we will find some kind of a solution in the coming days to this very complex problem,” he added.