The second phase of the border negotiations between Assam and Meghalaya will only recommence after the latter’s budget session of the Assembly.
Phase one had been completed last year with the signing of an agreement between the two states in March. However, the second phase has only reached the preliminary stages and has been delayed several times.
“As soon as the state’s budget session is over, we will be back to the border talks,” cabinet minister and government spokesman Paul Lyngdoh said today.
The minister did not make much out of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s recent assertion that Mukroh, which falls within West Jaintia Hills, is part of Assam. Mukroh was the site of a massacre in November last year when Assam police crossed the border and shot dead five villagers and one of their own forest guards after a confrontation. The village has never been disputed between the two states and does not fall within the stated 12 areas of difference that have been discussed in border negotiations.
“Anybody can say anything but the thrust of this government is on who physically owns the land and to do that we need proper documentation. We can claim anything, it is so easy, but let’s strengthen that claim through documentation and physical possession of the land,” Lyngdoh said. “Claims and counter claims arise because the borders are not settled.”
Meanwhile, it has yet to be decided who will lead the regional committees on the border issue or whether they will even be reconstituted.
Regional committees were formed by both states to focus on sections of the disputed border. The committee members were made up of cabinet ministers but the make-up of the cabinet has changed considerably since the recent Meghalaya Assembly election.
“Today we only made a mention that we have six more areas of difference to work on. But what methodology we actually adopt is up to the cabinet,” Lyngdoh stated.
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