The three regional committees that were formed by the Meghalaya government to study the interstate boundary dispute with Assam met today and will next conduct field visits to examine the situation on the ground.
There are three such committees – one for West Khasi Hills, one for Ri-Bhoi and a joint one for Jaiñtia Hills – headed by cabinet ministers.
The West Khasi Hills committee is led by Public Health Engineering Minister and Mawkyrwat MLA Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar.
While there have been calls from several quarters for Meghalaya to take a tough line, Tongkhar appealed to Assam’s sense of familial feeling.
“They are the parent state. They are not giving land away to foreigners but their own children. From them we got Meghalaya,” he said.
The West Khasi Hills committee will undertake its field visit on Wednesday and aims to submit its report by the following day, in time for Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma’s next meeting with his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma on August 6.
Tongkhar will be accompanied by committee co-chairman Brolding Nongsiej as well as other representatives and officials of West Khasi Hills district on the so-called areas of difference.
There are 12 such areas in dispute between Assam and Meghalaya and those under the Tongkhar committee are Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim and Langpih.
He said that the purpose of the visit is to understand the views of the people living along the boundary with Assam. One such issue that discourages people along the border from registering their title deeds with Meghalaya is the relatively high cost of stamp duty. The minister said that he will raise this issue with the government but also requested landowners on the Meghalaya side to register their property with the rightful state.
Meanwhile, in order to avoid any untoward incident, the West Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner will intimate the Assam authorities with regards to the visit beforehand.