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Border dispute: mediators to visit Assam, Nagaland
Correspondent Kohima, Nov 10 (NPN):
Published on 11 Nov. 2010 12:41 AM IST
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Four member mediators appointed earlier by the Supreme Court will be conducting physical verification on Assam and Nagaland between November 15 and 20.
Two mediators, senior advocates Niranjan Bhatt and Sriram Panchoo, along with their two assistant mediators Aparna Vasu and Priyadarshini Apurva are scheduled to arrive Assam on November 15 next and meet Assam chief minister the same day.
The four member team will then carry out aerial as well as on-spot verification by road to the disputed border areas on November 16 and 17. They are also scheduled to travel to Kohima and meet Nagaland chief minister and state chief secretary.
The mediator team, after their three days stay in Nagaland is schedule to return on November 20.
Since the apex court appointed the mediators and their assistant mediators August 20 last, it has so far had two sittings from September 18-19 and October 28-29 respectively at Delhi with the representatives of both the two contending states. As per the terms of references, the mediators are to submit a preliminary report after three sittings as to whether the dispute is capable of being resolved between the parties by mediation.
The mediators are reportedly due for submission of their preliminary reports to the apex court on or before December 6. On receipt of a positive reply from the team, the court will then decide whether the period of mediation should be extended with the consent of the parties.
It may be mentioned that Assam government had earlier filed an original suit with the Supreme Court against the Union of India in 1988 for identification of the boundaries between the states of Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The apex court on September 13, 2004 then ordered for the appointment of a commissioner and constituted a Local Border Commission headed by Justice S.N. Variava, a former judge of the Supreme Court as the chairperson of the commission to look into the border dispute between the two states.
He was to be assisted by Kamal Naidu, retired principal chief conservator of forest, Andhra Pradesh, and S.P. Goel, additional surveyor general of India, as members. The mandate of the local commission was to “identify the boundaries between the States of Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.”
Justice S.N. Variava was later succeeded by retired Justice Tarun Chatterjee of the Supreme Court of India on January 20, 2010.
Meanwhile, following the Supreme Court’s directive that the decades old Assam-Nagaland border issue to be resolved through mediation, a two-judge bench consisting of Markandey Katju and T.S. Thakur, JJ in its order dated August 20, 2010 ordered constitution of a panel consisting of two mediators who would, according to the court, work under its auspices.
The court then appointed two of the foremost experts in mediation in the country, Sriram Panchoo, senior advocate, High Court of Madras and Niranjan Bhat, senior advocate, High Court of Gujarat, as the co-mediators.
85,446 ha land encroached: Minister
Meanhwile, according to Assam Tribune reports, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram are encroaching on a combined area of 85,446.42 hectares of Assam, the break-up being Nagaland - 66,151 hectares, Arunachal Pradesh - 11,519.76 hectares, Meghalaya - 5,789.66 hectares and Mizoram - 1,986 hectares.
The minister also revealed that of the 5,927 hectares area in the Geleki reserve forest, around 4,000 hectares had been encroached on by Nagaland. The encroachment has been taking place since 1952.
Replying to another unstarred question on border encroachment by AGP legislator JP Das, Revenue Minister Dr. Bhumidhar Barman said that the State Government was aware of different activities like construction of offices, roads, churches, schools, police outposts, godowns, industrial units including brick kilns, residences, shops and other government and non-government establishments etc., on Assam’s land by the Nagaland government.
Dr. Barman said that while eviction drives were being occasionally carried out, the Supreme Court had constituted local commissions to look into the border disputes with Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

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