Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma on Tuesday asked the state government to hold on and not be in a hurry to finalize the ‘Memorandum of Understand’ for resolving the six of the twelve areas of difference with Assam.
“I would like to appeal to the government to hold on, have more exhaustive understanding about this complex contentious issue before you decide to resolve this contentious issue part by part,” Mukul said while supporting a motion moved by AITC MLA from Umroi George B Lyngdoh.
He said the state government cannot leave Block I and Block II including Khanduli and Psiar which covers large areas, in silo for negotiation and discussion and warned “the moment we take up these areas in silo, then we will not be able to negotiate with Assam from a position of strength. That is why I would like to appeal to this government to hold on, have patience, hold on, have patience.”
“I know the urgency must be because the counterpart is pushing because under this circumstances our counterpart stand to gain and the counterpart will be in a stronger position, they will be in a position of strength to discuss with us to resolve the remaining areas of difference and it will go on eluding us please mind my word,” Mukul said.
“Therefore hold on and if you want to have further discussion, we can have further discussion but if you are in a hurry, I would like to caution the government please don’t be in a hurry, please take note of this caution that we want to resolve areas of difference with Assam in respective of those areas where it is more complex which will be important for us,” he further added.
The Leader of Opposition further feared that if the MoU is finalized, the Assam counterpart would further insist on the same parameters – that include the ethnicity and will of the people – (adopted for the first six areas of difference) in respect of Block I & II.
“Please remember that the counterpart has been aggressively trying to create new settlement after settlement bringing in other people belonging to ethnic communities to make our Khasi-Pnar community minority there in most of the villages and this is happening on a regular basis,” he also alleged.
Stating that the MoU will no doubt generate a sense of euphoria, the former chief minister said, “And we will be in euphoria after these six areas of difference are resolved and we will be sleeping like we did post 1972. I am sure it will generate that sense of euphoria if I am speaking from a human psychology perspective as far as those people who agreed to go ahead with this proposal.”
Earlier while expressing his unhappiness over the border settlement, Lyngdoh demanded the state government to withdraw its consent to give 66 acres of land in Khanapara to Assam as by doing so it would be like giving away Meghalaya’s gateway.
“I am not happy with the settlement. We have lost the state’s gateway considering the settlement which has already been signed,” he said.
“If possible I still urge the state government to correct this and withdraw its consent to give 66 acres of land in Khanapara to Assam as it is like giving away the state’s gateway and economic property that has brought huge benefit to the state in terms of revenue,” the Umroi MLA said while asserting that the state should not give up on the claims made in 2011 and should not be forced into a settlement such as this.