Himanta-Khandu hold crucial meet
Guwahati, April 20 (PTI): Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma met his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu here on Wednesday and announced that the two Northeastern states will form district-level committees to resolve the longstanding border disputes in a time-bound manner.
This was the second chief ministerial-level meeting between the two states over the boundary issue, Sarma said in a series of tweets.
The two northeastern neighbours had previously met over the issue on January 24 this year during which Arunachal Pradesh climbed down from its initial demand of transfer of 1119.279 sq km land to 859 sq km.
“We decided to form district-level committees in both the states to resolve the issue in a time-bound manner.
“The district committees will undertake joint surveys in the disputed areas to find tangible solutions to the long-pending issue based on historical perspective, ethnicity, contiguity, people’s will, and administrative convenience of both the states,” the Assam chief minister said.
The terms of reference of the committees were also finalised at the meeting, Sarma said.
Assam Border Area Development minister Atul Bora, and chief secretaries and senior officials of both the states were present at the meeting.
Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share an 804.1-km-long border and there are 1,200 points of dispute along it.
Arunachal Pradesh has a grievance that the re-organisation of North Eastern states unilaterally transferred several forested tracts in the plains that had traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities, to Assam.
After Arunachal Pradesh achieved statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal. Assam contested this and the matter is before the Supreme Court.
Arunachal Pradesh was a Centrally-administered region initially after Independence and became a Union Territory later, before attaining full statehood in 1987.
Besides Arunachal Pradesh, Assam also has boundary disputes with Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, and soon after assuming office in May last year, Sarma has been making efforts to resolve these through negotiations.