Crucial Conrad-Himanta meeting on border today

Final agreement on six areas of differences expected

SHILLONG, Jan 28: The chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya will on Saturday meet in Guwahati for possibly the last discussion before the two states seal the boundary deal.
The two states had agreed to resolve six of the 12 areas of dispute that were deemed to be less complicated.
The State Cabinet was updated about the border issue with Assam on Friday.
“We will meet Assam Chief Minister tomorrow in Guwahati and we are hopeful of arriving at a final conclusion on the six locations,” Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said.
Assam and Meghalaya have almost come to an understanding on the six disputed areas for which negotiations started last year. Sangma had claimed on Thursday that both the states have come to an almost 98% agreement on the six sites.
After Saturday’s meeting, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to call the representatives of both the states for a joint meeting for settling the dispute in these six areas.
Shah may call both states for discussions either by the end of January or the early part of February.
The six areas of differences targeted for resolving are Tarabari, Gizang and Hahim in West Khasi Hills, Boklapara and Khanapara-Pillangkata in Ri-Bhoi and Ratacherra in the East Jaintia Hills district.

Amendments to Sixth Schedule
The Meghalaya government has proposed to the Centre that the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council and the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council shall not have more than 40 members, out of which not more than four members will be nominated.
The amendments to the Sixth Schedule were discussed during the Cabinet meeting.
The chief minister later told journalists that most of the areas and issues in the amendments to the Sixth Schedule have been resolved.
He said the government has proposed that the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council shall not have more than 32 members out of which not more than two will be nominated.
Reacting to a query, Sangma said the number of seats should not be more than 40 for KHADC and GHADC. It would be the councils’ prerogative to have either 35 or 36 seats and there will be a process for that, he added.
The Cabinet also proposed that a village council will be elected but the chairman will be ex-officio. This means the Rangbah Shnong, Sordar and Nokma will be the de facto chairman of the village council while the secretary and other members will be elected.
The chief minister maintained that the recommendations have been made to the Centre following large-scale consultations with stakeholders and suggestions came from the district councils.
Sangma said he would discuss the matter once he visits New Delhi to discuss the border issue with the Centre.
He asserted that the clause of unrepresented tribes will not be included in the proposals to be forwarded to the Centre.

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