Any potential resolution to the border dispute between Meghalaya and Assam should be discussed in the Assembly before the Chief Ministers strike deals between themselves, opposition chief whip Process T Sawkmie said today.
The Congress MLA for Mawlai added that it is the firm feeling of the people of Meghalaya that not an inch of land should be handed over to Assam.
“If there are any areas that have to be given to Assam and vice versa, the government should take the Assembly into consideration,” Sawkmie said.
The opposition legislator, while lauding the initiative of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in trying to resolve the long-pending dispute, felt that it would not be possible to settle the matter by Christmas; the CM had said earlier in the week that the two governments hope to sort out the dispute as it pertains to six areas along the border, by that time.
Despite having his doubts about the timetable, Sawkmie urged all parties from across the political spectrum, as well as civil society organisations and students’ groups, to cooperate and support the government in its attempt to solve the border impasse.
“We should let the government proceed with its efforts to resolve this border dispute but anything dealing with give-and-take of territory should be discussed on the floor of the Assembly,” stated Sawkmie.
Meanwhile, he also reacted sharply to the comment by Sangma that past Congress governments did nothing to solve the border dispute. Sawkmie recalled that several CMs before Sangma, including DD Lapang (then with the Congress but now with Sangma’s National People’s Party) and Dr Mukul Sangma, had made their own efforts.
Paradoxically, Sawkmie went on to say that Assam had further encroached on Meghalaya territory because past Meghalaya governments had been reluctant to act in the face of the aggression. “Today the people in the border areas also understand that the government is serious about solving this issue. They are coming forward and are demanding the return of their land that was taken by Assam,” he added.