Chief Secretaries entrusted to pursue border dispute

CM level meet held in Guwahati after 7 yrs

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma during a discussion on the inter-state boundary dispute in Guwahati on Saturday. (ST)

SHILLONG: The 12 areas of difference and the formation of a boundary commission, among others, will be discussed thoroughly at the chief secretary level, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said after meeting his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal in Guwahati on Saturday.
Sangma and Sonowal met for the first time to iron out the boundary dispute.
Stressing on regular chief secretary-level talks, Sangma said the subsequent meeting will examine the documents on the disputed areas, which were already submitted, after which the matter will be brought up at the CM-level meeting.
“We are firm on our stand on peaceful and enabling environment along the interstate border,” Sangma said.
Similar chief secretary-level talks were held earlier between both the states but the discussions had remained inconclusive.
As the chief ministers, during the hour-long meeting on Saturday, resolved to find a solution to the problem that would be “acceptable to people of both the states,” nothing much was said about the boundary commission that Meghalaya was stressing on before Saturday’s meeting.
Cross-border extremism and environmental degradation were also on the list of discussions and Sonowal asserted that the states would now jointly deal with the challenges.
“We will conduct joint operations against extremists and militants to restore peace and tranquility,” the Assam chief minister said and added that destruction of hills along the border would also be checked.
The high-level delegation of Meghalaya comprised Border Areas Development Minister Prestone Tynsong, senior leader D.D Lapang, Deputy Chief Minister in charge Revenue and Disaster Management R.C Laloo, Health and Family Welfare Minister Roshan Warjri, C&RD minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, Chief Secretary K.S Kropha, DGP SB Singh and other senior officials of the State Government.
The chief ministers of both states met after a gap of seven years. The last meeting was between Sangma and former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi in 2010. Meghalaya had, in the past, submitted documents and maps on its claim to the 12 areas of difference, including Upper Tarabari, Gizang Reserve Forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah-Matamur, Khanapara-Pillangkata, Deshdemoreah, Block I and Block II, Khanduli-Psiar and Ratacherra.
“We are firm on our stand for peaceful and enabling environment along the interstate border,” Sangma said.