With all attention in Meghalaya fixed on combating the Covid-19 pandemic’s second wave, neighbouring Assam looks to be trying to take advantage of the situation to harass villages along the disputed border in Ri-Bhoi.
A fresh case of intrusion by Assam government officials and pressure group members was reported in Jatalong village last week whereby they forcefully interrupted work to implement the Jal Jeevan Mission to provide potable water to every household.
The secretary of the Dorbar Shnong, Proming Surong, told this reporter that the village authorities had begun work on the water scheme when members of the Karbi Students Association (KSA) tried to force them to stop implementation because, they claimed, the land belonged to Assam. The villagers disputed this claim and carried on with the project.
The KSA were then reinforced by Assam Forest Department officials on April 29 and they jointly opposed the work by the Jatalong Dorbar Shnong in implementing the central government scheme. The Assam officials argued that the land on which the work was progressing belonged to that state’s Forest Department.
Surong added that the Jatalong authorities have reported these incidents to the Border Magistrate and district administration on the Meghalaya side.