Opp leader urges Sonowal to hold border talks with Nagaland  

Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia. File image.

GUWAHATI: Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia has urged Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal to hold urgent discussions with his Nagaland counterpart under central government’s mediation to resolve the inter-state boundary dispute issue.

In a letter issued on Tuesday, Saikia mentioned that he had alerted the chief minister earlier about large-scale encroachment in the Gelakey Reserve Forest area by miscreants from across the inter-state boundary.

“The encroachment had taken place with the active assistance of the Nagaland government. The encroachers had not only destroyed tea bushes planted by small tea growers of Assam in the area, but also set up a makeshift check gate to prevent movement of people from Assam,” he stated.

Apart from immediate measures such as creation of more border outposts, deployment of additional security forces and appointment of a permanent border magistrate in the area, the Opposition leader urged Sonowal to send a team led by the minister in-charge of border security, state DGP and additional chief secretary (home) to take stock of the situation on the inter-state border.

Saikia said that while the Sivasagar district administration and sub-divisional authorities had dismantled the check gate and some sheds on  June 8 and June 10 with the help of CRPF personnel, the problem was far from over.

The Opposition leader referred to the fact that the governments of both Nagaland and Assam had accepted the termination point of the Pioneer Road as the inter-state boundary when it was constructed in 1978.

“However, people from Nagaland later started encroaching upon Assam’s territory and resorted to extortion and seizure of livestock. They even tried to set up polling stations during elections,” he added.

Saikia further stated that residents of the area were living in a state of fear and uncertainty, with many persons losing their means of livelihood due to the encroachment.