The State government is facing a Catch 22-like situation on to the border dispute with Assam, as the Congress party will criticise it regardless, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said today.
Yesterday Sangma made a visit to Langpih, one of the most contentious areas of difference between Meghalaya and Assam, with his counterpart from the neighbouring state. The government then received criticism from state Congress working president Ampareen Lyngdoh for being too much in a rush to solve the issue, which has been kept pending ever since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972.
“It is said that when the Meghalaya and Assam governments don’t meet, the opposition says that we are not serious but when we do meet they say that we are too serious,” Sangma rued. “They (Congress) won’t even know the names of the areas of difference, let alone the names of the villages in these areas and I’m sure they have never visited them.”
He said, however, that his government is hoping that the disputes regarding the six least contentious areas can be resolved in time for Christmas. All of this will be done, though, in a measured way and the district councils will be part of the process, he added. One specific criticism from Lyngdoh yesterday is that the head of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, Titosstarwell Chyne, was not part of the Langpih trip.
Currently, the two governments are doing their “homework” on the border dispute. Once the reports from the regional border committees are received, the government will open up the consultative process with other stakeholders.
Speaking about Lyngdoh’s contention that the Instrument of Accession, the document that brought the Khasi states into the Indian Union after independence, should be the basis for the negotiations between the two states, Sangma said that history will definitely be a consideration but facts on the ground will have to be taken into account as well.