Assam, Meghalaya CMs to meet Shah before ‘final agreement’ on six border areas
Detailed reports by regional panels to be submitted within 3 days: Prestone
Guwhati, Jan 12: Assam and Meghalaya have decided to hold a final round of border talks on six “relatively less complicated” areas of differences within a week before meeting Union home minister Amit Shah and making a “final agreement” ahead of Meghalaya’s 50th statehood day on January 21, 2022.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma had a crucial fourth round of talks at the State Guest House in Koinadhora, Khanapara on Wednesday afternoon and discussed the findings of inspections made by the regional committees to the six areas of differences threadbare.
Cabinet ministers Atul Bora and Chandra Mohan Patowary were part of the Assam delegation while Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong and Cabinet minister Lahkmen Rymbui were part of the Meghalaya delegation.
All the chairpersons of the regional committees, constituted to make inspections and interact with the residents in the six inter-state border areas, were present and they shared their findings and opinions with the chief ministers.
Speaking to mediapersons here after the 45-minute meeting, Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong said the meeting was very “detailed and inclusive”.
“More or less, we have almost arrived at the agreement in those areas which have been inspected by the regional committees. Now both the chief ministers have directed the respective governments to submit the detailed reports,” Tynsong said.
He however said that there would be a final round of chief minister-level talks within a week before the chief ministers meet the Union home minister.
“Thereafter, hopefully, before January 21, 2022, a final agreement would be made known to the people of both the states,” Tynsong.
The Meghalaya chief minister further said that the detailed final reports would be submitted by the respective regional committees within three days before the chief ministers meet again.
The six “less complicated” areas of differences are Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilangkata and Ratacherra – falling under West Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi, East Jaintia Hills districts in Meghalaya and Cachar, Kamrup Metro and Kamrup districts in Assam.
Asked how the meeting progressed on Wednesday, Tynsong said that it was “productive and fruitful” with both chief ministers engaging in an open and candid discussion to sort out the differences based on the findings in the six areas by the respective regional committees.
“Both the chief ministers are determined to resolve the long-pending border issues,” he said.
Asked about the remaining six areas of differences, Tynsong said that a step-by-step approach would be followed and a call on the timeline would be taken once the issues concerning the six “less complicated” areas are addressed.
Assam border area development minister, Atul Bora said that both the states are optimistic about arriving at a solution on the basis of the give and take policy that both states have agreed to adhere to at the outset.
“Both chief ministers had a fruitful round of talks today and the discussions have moved ahead as per expectations and towards a final solution. The findings of the visits to the six areas by the respective regional committees were shared with the chief ministers during the meeting,” Bora, who is the chairman of the regional panel for Kamrup district, said.
“The final decision however will be taken by the Union home ministry,” he said, while adding that “once the border problems in some areas of both the states are resolved, Assam’s border issues with other neighbouring states like Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland will make headway.”
It may be mentioned that the first round of border talks initiated by the two chief ministers was held in July 2021, with both states subsequently agreeing to take the process forward by considering key factors such as historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, contiguity of the land, willingness, and people’s sentiments in the areas of dispute.