Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that a roadmap had been prepared for “amicable settlement” of the ongoing border dispute with Meghalaya.
Sarma had convened an all-party meeting in Guwahati today. After the meeting, Asom Gana Parishad leader and West Guwahati MLA, Ramendra Narayan Kalita, said that it was agreed at the meeting that “some portion” of Pillingkata, a small portion of Boklapara, and part of Langpih will be “given away” to Meghalaya.
Out of 36.79 sq km disputed area taken up for settlement in the first phase, Assam will get 18.51sq km while Meghalaya will get 18.28 sq km, according to the final recommendations given by the three regional committees formed by the two states to look into six disputed border stretches.
According to the report, of the disputed areas taken up in the first phase, 7.17 sq km is in adverse possession of Meghalaya, while remaining 29.62 sq km is under dual franchise or administrative control.
Gizang and Ratacherra sectors in Kamrup and Cachar districts of Assam respectively have the largest disputed areas among the six sectors in three districts of Assam which have been taken up in the first phase.
Among the areas under adverse possession of Meghalaya, 6.42 sq km in Ratacherra sector of Cachar is with the neighboring state.
According to the final recommendations, Assam will get full control of 11.94 sq km of the disputed land in Kamrup with the remaining 11.36 sq km going to Meghalaya.
In Kamrup Metropolitan, Assam will keep 1.79 sq km and Meghalaya will get 0.50 sq km, while in Cachar, Assam will have 4.78 sq km under its full control against Meghalaya’s 6.42 sq km.
The regional committees have also defined timelines for settling the dispute.
It has recommended issuing of ordinance specifying the boundaries within a month as well as sensitizing key stakeholders, including Ministry of Home Affairs, about the final recommendations in the same period.
It has set a time of three months for approval of the recommendations by both the state governments and their legislatures, demarcation of boundaries and fixation of permanent pillars to be led by Survey of India within six months and approval of Parliament for a Constitutional Amendment within a year. .
Announcing this via Twitter, Sarma said, “The areas of differences taken up for final settlement are – Hahim, Gizang, Tarabari, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillingkata and Ratacherra. A roadmap for amicable settlement has been prepared based on recommendations of three Regional Committees with representatives from both the states.”
Sarma also said that this stage had been reached after several rounds of chief minister-level talks that also included leading members of the cabinet, senior government officials and representatives of all parties.
“Our efforts to resolve Assam-Meghalaya border row have started bearing fruits as six of the 12 areas of difference have been identified for resolution in the first phase. During an interaction, briefed representatives of all political parties on the progress made so far,” Sarma said.
It may be mentioned that Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma had met on January 12 in Guwahati and decided to resolve the long-standing inter-state boundary disputes over six of the 12 areas.
These six areas fall under Kamrup, Kamrup Metropolitan and Cachar districts of Assam and West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts of Meghalaya.
One more meeting is expected by January 20 or 21 between the two chief ministers and then there will be a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi to finalise the deal.
The six regional committees, three each from Meghalaya and Assam, have already submitted their respective reports to the two chief ministers after conducting field visits and inspections to the six areas of difference and a series of discussions.
The first meeting between Sarma and Sangma to resolve the boundary issue was held at Shillong on July 23, 2021 followed by the second meeting at Guwahati on August 6, 2021.