Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday reiterated that all emphasis will be made by the State government to take all possible measures to arrive at a final and logical solution to the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute.
Chief Minister Sangma said that the inter-State boundary between Assam and Meghalaya as defined by the North Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 has been a bone of contention between the two States.
Though series of meetings were held at the level of Chief Ministers as well as the Chief Secretaries of the two States with a view to finding an amicable solution to this vexed problem through bilateral talks, to identify the areas of differences and to suggest measures to resolve the differences, a long term solution has not emerged so far, stated CMO, Meghalaya.
The Meghalaya CM made the statement while responding to a resolution moved by MLA Adelbert Nongrum during the ongoing Budget Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
“Four decades have passed by since the re-organisation of the two States, and all these steps taken by the two governments have not been able to resolve the contentious issues,” CM Sangma told the House.
There are 12 areas of differences at present between Assam and Meghalaya. These are as follows – Upper Tarabari, Gizang Reserve Forest, Hahim area, Langpih area, Bordwar area, Nongwah Mawtamur area, Pilangkata Khanapara area, Deshdemoria area, Khanduli area, Umkhyrni Psiar area, Areas of Block I and Block II and Ratacherra area.
The CM further said that official communications of the British period, which establish that the areas which were part of the Khasi States had been tagged with the neighbouring districts (now falling under Assam) for the limited purpose of revenue collection, without severing their historical links with the Khasi States.
The CM asserted, “If they were part of the Khasi States, then they should now form part of Meghalaya.”
He said that there are issues relating to interpretation of the notifications on the ground. On account of wrong/mistaken interpretation of natural/geographical features mentioned in the notifications that define the inter-district boundaries, differences have cropped up while demarcating the boundaries. The globally accepted norms/practices of survey need to be adopted/followed in this exercise, the Chief Minister informed the House.
He also said that an examination of the delimitation notifications of 1952, 1966 and 1972 indicate that a large number of villages located within the areas of differences were part of the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills district and, therefore, should now form part of Meghalaya.
He said that similarly, the de-limitation notifications in respect of the constituencies of the Legislative Assembly issued during the period when Meghalaya was part of the composite State of Assam would throw light on the extent of the territories of then United Khasi and Jaintia Hills district and the Garo Hills district.
“The status of villages in the areas of differences could be determined with references to these notifications issued before the creation of the State of Meghalaya,” added the CM.
The Chief Minister also informed the House that the State Government has been able to buttress its claims by presenting supporting documents. These documents and maps, amongst others, have been shared with the Government of Assam. These documents are of ample evidentiary value and could eventually pave the way for adjudication before the Judiciary, if the situations so warrants, the CMO stated.