The disputes in the remaining six areas, that are termed ‘complicated’, will be taken up for settlement in the next phase
Guwahati: In what may a major step in resolving the decades-old inter-state border dispute, two neighbouring Northeast states — Assam and Meghalaya — have agreed in principle to divide about 36 sq km of disputed land at six places between them in almost equal parts to partially bring an end to the row between them.
The disputes in the remaining six areas, that are termed “complicated”, will be taken up for settlement in the next phase.
The two states have also agreed that the disputes will be limited to only these 12 areas based on the claims made by Meghalaya till 2011 and that Meghalaya cannot make any further claims in new areas.
According to understanding between the two states, the agreed proposal of Assam and Meghalaya will be sent to the Union home ministry for approval as inter-state boundaries is a Central subject, which will have to be then approved by Parliament as Meghalaya became a full-fledged state in 1972 under the North Eastern Region (Reorganisation) Act 1971 and then ratified by the Legislative Assemblies of both the states.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also called a meeting of stakeholders and all political parties of the state, said: “A roadmap for amicable settlement has been prepared based on the recommendations of three regional committees, with representatives from both the states. We have reached this stage after several rounds of chief minister-level talks on the matter.”
He also expressed satisfaction that the ongoing efforts of two states to resolve the border dispute had started bearing fruit, with the two chief ministers agreeing to resolve the dispute on at least six disputed areas in the first phase.
It is significant that a high-powered panel appointed by the CMs of the two states were guided by five factors — historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, willingness of people and contiguity of land — for preparing their recommendations.
Except for Manipur and Tripura, Assam has border disputes with all the other three neighbouring states, that were once part of Assam. While the disputes are due to be resolved soon with Arunachal Pradesh, the political leaderships of Nagaland and Mizoram are yet to show any willingness to resolve these decades-old border disputes, always hanging fire on the harmony of the neighbours.