SHILLONG, Aug 9: Meghalaya and Assam have decided to start the second phase of border talks for resolving the remaining six areas of difference shared between the two states after August 15. This was informed by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma after meeting a delegation of the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong Border Area Raid Nongtung, a conglomeration of traditional headmen, on Tuesday.
The traditional headmen had sought the intervention of the chief minister to ensure 18 of 34 villages under Raid Nongtung under Block II should be transferred back to Meghalaya.
After the meeting, Sangma told reporters that after listening to their concerns, he has informed the delegation that the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government is committed to resolving the border dispute.
“That is the reason why we have moved forward in six of the twelve areas and we have signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) after detailed consultations with the people and the people’s will is what has led to the resolution of the first six locations,” he said.
Expressing confidence that the two states will also find a solution for the remaining six locations, the chief minister however said it is a process and is something which one cannot say will happen today or tomorrow as it will take time.
“We have to move forward and we have to allow the process to continue and we have to consult and engage with all the stakeholders that are involved,” he said.
Informing that the second phase of border talks will be held after Independence Day celebration, Sangma said, “When I have gone for the NITI Aayog meeting, the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and myself we had a detailed meeting for a long time and we have decided that we will be having the first meeting for the phase-II within the next few days after Independence Day. The exact date has to be finalized but we will be meeting in Guwahati.”
He further informed that regional committees will be formed by the two states to take the process forward for the second phase of border talks for resolving the remaining six areas of difference.
Stating that it will not be a simple process since things are much more complicated, the Chief Minister said, “Even Karbi Anglong District Council is involved and hence we have to involve everybody in the discussion and like we have done in the first phase similarly in the second phase also we will involve stakeholders, traditional heads, district councils and more importantly the public in general to be able to figure out how we could reach to a possible solution by carrying everybody along with us.”
On the demand for implementation of developmental schemes in the border areas, Sangma said he has informed the delegation that development is something that all should welcome.
“Implementation of developmental schemes or central schemes does not determine which states it falls under. So whichever state may implement development, (it) is important but at the end of the day that will not be a creteria for determining which area or which state that particular area falls under. So, all these matters were discussed and I am sure they have understood all the details,” he said.
The chief minister further assured the traditional headmen and the people of the state that his government is committed to move forward for resolving the boundary dispute once and for all.
Later, President of the Synjuk Blickstar Sohtun informed that the delegaton has urged the Chief Minister to ensure all the 18 villages under Raid Nongtung should not at any cost go to Assam.
“To this, the CM had assured us that very soon the border dispute will be resolved and we are confident that today’s meeting will bring positive results for the people who have been facing various hardships and problems in the border areas,” he said.
Sohtun further informed that the delegation had also requested the Chief Minister to consider setting up a police camp at the border areas pending the resolving of the border dispute in Block II and other five areas of difference to which he assured that the government will try its best to find solution to end the dispute.