GUWAHATI: Assam and Meghalaya have taken significant steps towards resolving their long-standing border dispute, aiming to finalise the first phase of the matter by December 31.
In a Chief Ministerial-level meeting held at the State Guest House in Khanapara, Assam, on Saturday, leaders from both states made critical decisions to put an end to the border row, wrap up judicial inquiry commissions related to the Mukroh incident, and involve the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from a neutral state.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, the Chief Minister of Meghalaya expressed optimism that the actual demarcation line in all six disputed areas of Phase-I along the inter-state border would be settled by December 31.
“Today, we finalised the actual border line in Hahim village, Boko, Assam, which is one of the six areas of dispute between the two states. In the rest of the five areas, the final demarcation will be done latest by December 31,” he told the press.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced the decision to disband the judicial commissions of both states in the Mukroh firing incident. He said that the mutual decision stemmed from a lack of cooperation between Meghalaya officials and the Assam judicial commission, as well as the absence of Assam officials during the Meghalaya commission’s hearings. “As a result, the case will be handed over to the CBI and a case will be registered in a neutral state,” he said.
Both Chief Ministers highlighted the progress made in the border talks and expressed confidence that regional committees formed by both states would gather the necessary information to resolve the issue effectively.
To address the deteriorating law and order situation in Block – I of the disputed areas, including Khanduli in West Jaintia Hills district, the leaders decided to withdraw their respective state police personnel as a confidence-building measure for local residents.
“We have decided to replace state police personnel by a neutral paramilitary force. We will be asking the CRPF to come in in those areas so that people’s confidence level in the whole exercise go up and a positive message is imparted,” said Chief Minister Sangma.
Sangma further informed the press that senior officials and regional committees have been tasked to visit the areas and take the necessary steps to procure all the needed information.
“We (both the Chief ministers) would be visiting Khanduli by the fourth week of October post the Durga Puja celebrations,” added Chief Minister Sangma.