Set up two border outposts in Block II: Headmen’s body

SHILLONG, Dec 5: The Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong Border Area (SKRBA), a conglomeration of headmen of Khasi villages in the dispute Block II sector of the boundary with Assam, urged Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma to set up border outposts at Ummat and Umthli villages.
“We told the CM that the two border outposts should be set up before the proposed phase II of the border talks between the governments of Meghalaya and Assam begin. Border outposts in these areas will ensure the safety and protection of the Khasi population residing in the villages under Block II,” SKRBA president B. Sohtun told reporters after their meeting with Sangma here on Monday.
Sohtun was unhappy with Sangma’s observation that it would be difficult for the state government to set up outposts in the disputed areas and wanted to know what was preventing the Meghalaya government from setting up outposts in the disputed areas when Assam was doing it.
“It will not serve the purpose if the border outposts are set up inside the territory of Meghalaya. We want the outposts to come up right on the interstate border,” he insisted.
Sohtun said the villagers will not feel safe and secure if the outposts are not set up on the border. The Meghalaya government can set up temporary outposts at Ummat and Umtli if it cannot set up permanent outposts, he added.
The SKRBA president said they have briefed KHADC chief Titosstarwell Chyne on the reluctance of the state government to set up border outposts at the two sites.
“We are happy that the KHADC chief agreed to pursue the matter with the state government,” Sohtun said.
He said the border residents were happy after the announcement that two border outposts would be set up in Thadrat and Tyrso villages under Block II.
According to Sohtun, the CM also stated that the government would depute an officer for meeting the traditional heads of the areas to suggest the locations of the two outposts.
He said the DIG concerned was supposed to visit the area to meet the Rangbah Shnongs on December 2 but it was postponed to December 3.
“The DIG is yet to visit the area as we were not free on Sunday. The CM said in today’s meeting that officials would be sent to the area to finalise the setting up of the border outposts,” Sohtun said.
Meanwhile, Mawhati MDC Charles Marngar said they will oppose the proposal of the state government to set up the border outposts at Thadrat and Tyrso.
The reluctance to set up the border outposts right on the border only proves that the Meghalaya government has surrendered to its Assam counterpart, he said.
He said the people of Ummat and Umthli are ready to provide land for setting up of the outposts.
The Syiem of Raid Nongtung, Miwell Shadap also expressed disappointment over the reluctance to set up the outposts on the border but lauded the state government for its efforts to solve the long-pending boundary dispute.
“It has been 50 years since we got statehood. It is only the present CM who has dared to attempt to resolve this issue. I hope phase II of the boundary talks will be completed before the elections,” he said.
Shadap, however, feared the issue may not be resolved if there is a change in government after the Assembly polls early next year.
Earlier, the SKRBA condemned Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong for saying all the villages under Block-II fall in Assam.
“We felt insulted by this statement of the Deputy CM at the meeting of the regional committee for Ri-Bhoi district held last week. It seems that he (Tynsong) has not read the documents we had submitted to the state government to prove our claim that 18 villages are not in the disputed Block II,” Sohtun said.
Tynsong’s ignorance about the areas falling under Raid Nongtung showed in his statement, he added.
Sohtun claimed Sabuda, Jatalong, Madan Umwang, Khlieh Umwang, Umlaper, Laru, Umtlieh, Ummat, Umru, Umshangktad, Pdengtliej, Umhi, Itpatung, Umsder, Umtyrshing, Umsaw Lumdorbar, Mawsladieng and Umsohlaper do not fall under Block II according to the notification of 1951.
Only four out of 22 villages across the three Raids under Hima Khyrim fall under Block II, including Mawlen, Mawlen II, Paintalu and Umshatri, Sohtun added.

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