Assam-Meghalaya sign pact to end border dispute in 6 contested areas
Shah calls it 'historic day' for NE
New Delhi: Assam and Meghalaya on Tuesday decided to end their five-decade-old border dispute in six of the 12 contested locations that often raised tensions between the two states, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah calling it a “historic day” for the Northeast.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Shah by Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya Himanta Biswa Sarma and Conrad Sangma respectively.
The pact will resolve the protracted dispute in six of the 12 places along the 884.9 km border between the two states.
“It is a historic day for the Northeast,” Shah said at the function held at the Ministry of Home Affairs here.
The home minister said, with the signing of the agreement, 70 per cent of the border dispute between the two states has been resolved and hoped that a solution will be found for the remaining six locations soon.
“This inter-state boundary settlement will usher in a new era of peace, harmony and progress in Assam and Meghalaya. I want to assure our sisters and brothers of Northeast that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government will leave no stone unturned in fulfilling their aspirations,” he said.
Shah said it was another milestone towards fulfilling the prime minister’s resolve of a peaceful and dispute-free Northeast.
He also said the agreement amplifies cooperative federalism and provides a road map for resolution of other boundary disputes between states.
Assam shares a 2743 km boundary with Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and West Bengal. It is locked in border disputes with Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.
In July 2021, Assam’s Cachar district had witnessed a fierce armed clash between the police personnel of Assam and Mizoram. Six Assam police personnel were killed in an armed confrontation with their Mizoram counterparts, forcing the Centre to intervene.
The Tuesday’s pact between Assam and Meghalaya is aimed at eliminating the possibility any such violence in the border areas of the two states.
There are 36 villages in the six places, covering an area of 36.79 sq km, with regard to which the agreement has been reached.
The two states had formed three committees each in August last year to go into the vexed boundary question. The constitution of the panels had followed two rounds of talks between Sarma and Sangma where the neighbouring states resolved to settle the dispute in a phased manner.
According to the joint final set of recommendations made by the committees, out of 36.79 sq km disputed area taken up for settlement in the first phase, Assam will get full control of 18.51 sq km and Meghalaya 18.28 sq km.
Out of the 12 points of dispute between Assam and Meghalaya, the six areas with relatively less critical differences were taken up in the first phase.
Sarma said he was grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the home minister for their continuous guidance to achieve this settlement.
“This is a milestone in our collective efforts to strengthen cooperative federalism. Together, we are committed to resolving all such legacy boundary issues very soon,” he said.
Meghlaya chief minister Sangma said history has been made with Meghalaya and Assam signing the agreement to officially resolve the dispute in six out of 12 contested areas.
He said this important leap is the result of team work by both the governments of Meghalaya and Assam.
Sangma also expressed gratitude to the prime minister and the union home minister for their guidance. He also thanked the Assam chief minister for working together to reach an important milestone for the two states.
The boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya has lingered for 50 years. However, the effort to resolve it gained pace in recent times.
Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 but the new state had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, leading to dispute in 12 boder locations.