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Assam ‘silent’, no progress in second phase of border talks

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SHILLONG, March 6: There is no progress in the second phase of bilateral talks on the Assam-Meghalaya border disputes due to the lack of response from the neighbouring government.
Although Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has maintained that the two states share a strong communication network, the regional committees of West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi districts have been waiting for the past few months for a nod from their Assam counterparts to conduct joint inspections of disputed areas.
“In the zone that I have been given charge of, which is the Langpih sector, we just need a single inspection. But that has been delayed due to the lack of response from the Assam counterpart,” Cabinet Minister and Chairman of the West Khasi Hills regional committee Paul Lyngdoh said on Wednesday.
“But they have expressed their willingness that they will undertake this survey within March,” he added.
The Ri-Bhoi regional committee has been waiting since the beginning of the Durga Puja celebration last year for confirmation from its Assam counterpart to conduct a joint inspection.
Apart from Langpih, the other areas taken up in the second phase of talks are Borduar, Nongwah-Mawtamur, Deshdoomreah, Block-II in Ri-Bhoi district and Block-I, Psiar-Khanduli in West Jaintia Hills.
On the growing insecurity and fear among border residents in Marmain area in Ri-Bhoi district following a poster campaign by an Assam-based radical group targeting institutes run by the Christian missionaries, Lyngdoh said, “The other factor that you have to take into account is that issues like border skirmishes tend to reach a point of conflict when elections are round the corner.” “So, it is natural that there would be players and elements who will try to raise this issue in a manner that it attracts attention,” the Minister added.
During the recent budget session of the state Assembly, United Democratic Party’s Nongpoh legislator Mayralborn Syiem brought a zero-hour notice on the rising insecurity and fear among border residents in the Marmain area.

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