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Meghalaya govt takes up Assam border issue with PM

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HT Bureau

SHILLONG, Aug 8: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma, alongside Speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Thomas Sangma and State Cabinet ministers, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday.

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The delegation submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention in various issues including border dispute with Assam.

“The Prime Minister heard our concerns, and assured us to look into it. We thank him for giving us this opportunity,” the chief minister said, while highlighting the issues that were discussed.

On the Assam-Meghalaya area of differences, chief minister Sangma sought the support of the Prime Minister for the ongoing resolution of the remaining six out of twelve disputed areas between Assam and Meghalaya.

He told the Prime Minister on the reconstitution of three Regional Committees to assess the current status of the remaining six disputed areas.

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The committees were tasked with verifying village claims, establishing geographical locations, and preparing asset registers in collaboration with both state governments.

Notably, six areas were successfully resolved in March 2022, with an agreement signed in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. A joint survey by both states is currently underway to demarcate boundaries in these resolved areas.

Officials of Assam and Meghalaya on Tuesday jointly agreed to visit the disputed Langpih area in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district to meet stakeholders, local representatives, and residents before finalising the interstate border, regional committee chairman Paul Lyngdoh said.

Both Meghalaya and Assam lay claim to the Langpih area where four people were shot dead at the heights of the interstate dispute in the area in 2010.

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Cabinet Minister Paul Lyngdoh, who is the chair of a regional committee here, led a delegation of the panel from Meghalaya for a meeting with Chandramohan Potawari, chairman of the regional committee from Assam, in Guwahati.

“The regional committees would undertake a joint visit to the Langpih sector and interact with all stakeholders, local representatives, and the people. We are optimistic that Langpih and the problems thereof are a thing of the past soon,” Lyngdoh told PTI.

He said, “The discussions were fruitful and there was a spirit of mutual accommodation.”

According to the minister, the regional committee from Assam also expressed its “receptiveness” to the proposal put forth that villages which are identified as “problem free” areas and where and where residents of those areas are inclined to be in Meghalaya to remain in the state.

Lyngdoh said residents of those villages have been voters of Meghalaya and the state government has been carrying out development activities in those areas for many years.

He said he is looking forward to those areas being transferred to Meghalaya and are a distinct possibility through the active participation and resolution of the government of Assam.

Lyngdoh also informed that a second round of the joint meeting would be held here post August 15.

Assam and Meghalaya had in March last year signed a MoU in Delhi to formally resolving interstate disputes in 6 areas of differences between the two states.

Implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP): The delegation also highlighted the resolution passed by the Meghalaya State Assembly in December 2019, focusing on the need for Inner Line Permit (ILP) implementation in Meghalaya.

The delegation sought Modi’s intervention as the State Government awaits a response from the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the consideration of ILP in Meghalaya.

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