Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma has said there is “no pressure” from Meghalaya side on people living in border areas with Assam to choose Meghalaya while settling the boundary dispute between the two Northeast states. 

He, however, said that “people have expressed their desire”. 

Briefing the media at Dimapur in Nagaland, the Meghalaya CM said: “The question of influencing the border people does not arise. They have expressed their desire.” 

He admitted that the people of the border areas have remained neglected so far. 

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“We need a new approach and different yardstick to resolve the border dispute between the two states in terms of ethnicity and administrative convenience,” Sangma said.  

Sangma said as per the Meghalaya government records, among the 36 villages in the Assam-Meghalaya border areas in question, there are only five non-Garo villages.  

He said there are 12 areas where differences exist between Assam and Meghalaya. 

“Hoping to find a solution to the inter-state border issue,” Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma said. 

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Notably, Assam minister Atul Bora, recently, had said that certain forces have pressurized people residing in border areas in Assam to choose Meghalaya while settling the boundary dispute between the two Northeast states. 

Bora did not specifically mention from which source the pressure was being put, though local Boko MLA Nandita Das of the Opposition Congress claimed that Meghalaya Police also had a role in encouraging local residents to opt for the bordering state. 

Bora and Das are members of a committee formed by the Assam government to look into the disputes in Kamrup (Rural) district areas bordering Meghalaya, and the panel had visited some of these areas a couple of months back for on-ground inspection. 

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com