M’laya-Assam boundary talks should be based on ‘documentation’, says Cong

Correspondent SHILLONG, AUG 3 | Publish Date: 8/3/2021 12:18:42 PM IST

Ahead of the second round of Chief Ministerial level talks between Meghalaya and Assam on the inter-state boundary dispute, the Leader of Opposition in Meghalaya, Dr. Mukul Sangma on Tuesday asserted that the negotiations on resolving the vexed boundary issue should be based on the documentations prepared by the State government on the 12 areas of difference which substantiate and establish the claims that these places belong to Meghalaya.    

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma is scheduled to meet his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma in Dispur on August 6 following their first round of meeting between the two Chief Ministers in Shillong on July 23.    

“These compilations enabled us to substantiate and justify our claims along the areas of differences,” the Leader of Opposition said.   

The veteran Congress leader pointed out that during the last Chief Minister level meeting between Conrad Sangma and Himanta Biswa Sarma, the latter had said that Assam had its own interpretation and stand over Meghalaya’s claims.   

“This means that they will try to deviate from the stand of Meghalaya,” the former Chief Minister voiced apprehension and underscored that any resolution of the inter-state boundary dispute should be acceptable to the people of the state.   

Dr Sangma, who as chief minister had taken part in boundary talks with the late Assam Chief Minister  Tarun Gogoi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, emphasised that the documentation prepared by Meghalaya should form the basis of all discussions with Assam.

Asked about the joint statement of Meghalaya Chief Minister and his Assam counterpart, on the “give and take policy” to resolve the vexed boundary disputes, the veteran Congress legislator said: “only people’s opinion matters.”    

“The border dispute is a “contentious issue” that has lingered on for several decades and the problem can be resolved by talking across the table. However, during such discussions there would be diverse opinions on the matter,” he said. “When we sit across the table there would be multiple opinions based on certain parameters and factors.  In such a scenario what the Assam Chief Minister or the Meghalaya Chief Minister says would only be construed as individual opinions and not a collective voice,” the former Chief Minister said.    

Alleging that the Conrad Sangma-led government was not implementing the Inter State Border Area Development Programme, Dr. Mukul  contended, “The present government is bankrupt in understanding the problems of villagers living along the border with Assam.”

“Meghalaya government has “abandoned” the border villagers and schemes under Inter-State Border Area Development Programme initiated by the previous Congress-led government have been “diverted somewhere else,” the Congress legislator alleged. 

The Leader of Opposition said that this is a reflection of the government’s “insensitivity” to the plight of the common people.

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition, Dr. Sangma is scheduled to visit Iongkhuli village in Ri-Bhoi district along the inter-state boundary, where there were skirmishes over erection of electric posts recently.


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