Guwahati, Jan 18: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today chaired an all-party meeting at the State Guest House in Koinadhora here for resolving the inter-state border row with Meghalaya in six “relatively less complicated areas” out of the 12 disputed areas.
The three regional committees formed by the Assam government on the inter-state border row had earlier submitted their reports and the findings of inspections made by the committees were discussed during the meeting.
Cabinet ministers and senior government officials were also present at the meeting.
Representatives from the ruling party BJP, allies such Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), United Peoples’ Party Liberal (UPPL), Opposition parties such as Congress, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and CPI-M.
Addressing mediapersons after the all-party meeting, AGP leader and West Guwahati MLA, Ramendra Narayan Kalita said that “some portions in the six disputed areas would be given away to Meghalaya” in accordance with the “give-and-take” policy that the two states had agreed last year.
“A decision was arrived at in the meeting, and accordingly, some portion of Pillingkata (along the Kamrup Metro-Ri-Bhoi inter-state boundary), small portion of Boklapara, which falls in my constituency, West Guwahati, and some portion of Lampi (Langpih) in Kamrup district will be given away to Meghalaya,” Kalita said.
He said that these areas have had disputes for the past five decades and despite several meetings during the period, no breakthrough was arrived.
Sources said that the decisions have been taken on the give-and-take formula applied to “a disputed area of 36.79 sq km” in the six border areas comprising Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillingkata and Ratacherra – falling under West Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi, East Jaintia Hills districts in Meghalaya and Kamrup Metro, Kamrup and Cachar districts in Assam.
The focus of the chief minister-level talks on the Assam-Meghalaya border row has been on historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, contiguity of the land, willingness, and people’s sentiments.
“Our efforts to resolve the Assam-Meghalaya border row have started bearing fruits as six of the 12 areas of difference have been identified for resolution in the first phase. During an interaction, briefed representatives of all political parties on the progress made so far,” chief minister Sarma later said on Twitter.
“A roadmap for amicable settlement has been prepared based on recommendations of three regional committees with representatives from both the states. We’ve reached this stage after several rounds of CM-level talks on the matter,” the chief minister said.
Meanwhile, Assam Congress Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia, who was part of the meeting, opined that further deliberations on the disputed inter-state border issues were required in a special Assembly session.
“Such a give-and-take policy requires further deliberations, and not just among a few representatives of political parties. So we demand a special Assembly session to discuss the issues before taking a final call,” he told reporters later.
AIUDF MLA from Mankachar (South Salmara), Aminul Islam also toed the Congress line, saying that the matter needs to be deliberated upon further before arriving at a "compromise formula".