By Dhrubajyoti Chakravorty
SHILLONG, Sept 13: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday held an informal discussion on the border issue and decided to formalise confidence building measures before conducting a joint visit to the areas of difference in October.
Addressing the media after the meeting, Sarma said, “We want to sit in a formal meeting and then probably we will be able to take some confidence building measures and with that, we will visit the borders because we thought that our visit should not create tension because if we both CMs goes to the area and after our return there is a fresh tension then people will blame us. So we want to quickly evolve some confidence building measures.”
“Once that confidence building measures are formalised, we will both go to the site and we will discuss with the people of border villages also. When we went to Langpih, there were lots of festivities. So we want to go to the Karbi Anglong and Jaintia Hills also with the same kind of festivity,” he added.
The Assam CM said he would like to have the formal meeting and visit the border areas in the month of October.
“I like to do it in the month of October. If Meghalaya CM can come to Guwahati in the first week of October, we can do otherwise in the second week of October.”
As part of the second phase of border talks, both Assam and Meghalaya governments have constituted the regional committees to come up with solutions for resolving the remaining six areas of differences shared by the two states.
Asked when likely the regional committees will submit their reports, Sarma however said, “As we told you that these six areas are little bit complicated so these regional committees are headed by matured people on both the sides, they are working very hard, they are visiting those areas frequently and we believe that everything will be settled in a most peaceful and amicable manner.”
The Assam CM however refused to take questions related to the demand for retransferring of Block I & II by saying, “Don’t ask us substantial questions because today is just an informal visit.”
Appealing to the people in the border to maintain peace and harmony, Sarma also assured that the two state governments are trying their best to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of the people of both Assam and Meghalaya.
“They (people at the border) must remember that we are working overtime to resolve the dispute. We want to keep the best interest of people living on both sides of the border in our mind. We want to protect the interest of the people living on the border. So be calm, remain in peace, remain in peace, help us, we will try to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of the people of both Assam and Meghalaya.”
Earlier, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma said that the informal meeting is part of the exercise and process to discuss the matter to help both States get into a better understanding.
“There is no definitive outcome of it and this exercise will continue from time to time,” he said while thanking the chief minister of Assam, CEM of KAAC and deputy chief minister of Meghalaya, who is heading the regional committee in Jaintia Hills region for their time.
Stating that the informal discussion was very positive, Sangma said, “We are hopeful that we are able to slowly and steadily move towards a resolution and also ensure that there is peace in that area and the different misunderstandings that are coming in a while, we are hopeful that we will be able to resolve those issues also.”