High-level delegations of Mizoram and Assam governments on Tuesday held border talks here and expressed hope to amicably resolve the decades-old boundary dispute between the two North-eastern neighbours.
The delegations signed a joint statement that said both the states agreed to promote and maintain peace and prevent any untoward incident along the border. Deputy Commissioners of the border districts of both states will meet at least once in two months, the statement said.
A violent clash between the police forces of Assam and Mizoram in July last year claimed the lives of six people, following which the two states formed committees to resolve the border dispute. Both sides on Tuesday also agreed that economic activities, including cultivation and farming, which have been practised by the people on either side of the border, should be allowed to continue regardless of the administrative control exercised by the states.
The Mizoram delegation was headed by Home Minister Lalchamliana while the Assam team was led by Border Protection and Development Minister Atul Bora. Speaking to reporters after the talks, Bora said that the chief ministers of both the states are sincere and taking positive roles in settling the vexed border dispute. Lalchamliana said that it will take time to have a lasting solution to the boundary problem.
Both delegations agreed to hold the next round of talks in Assam’s capital Guwahati in October. To a question, the Assam minister said that formation of a joint inspection team to conduct ground verification of the border areas will be discussed in the next meeting.
He said a chief ministerial-level talk can be expected soon.
Mizoram’s stand on the border issue will also be discussed in the next round of the talks, Lalchamliana said. Three Mizoram’s districts – Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit – share a 164.6 km long boundary with Assam’s Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar districts.
The border dispute between the two states is a long-standing issue, which stemmed from two colonial demarcations in 1875 and 1933.
There is no proper ground demarcation between the two neighbouring states after Mizoram was carved out as a Union Territory from Assam in 1972.
Assam-M’laya to hold border talks after Aug 15: Conrad
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday said his government will hold talks with Assam to resolve the remaining six areas of dispute at the inter-state border after August 15. Speaking to reporters, Sangma said he met Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma in New Delhi on the sidelines of the Niti Aayog meeting last weekend and held a detailed discussion on the issue.
“We decided that we will be having the first meeting for the phase-II after Independence Day,” he said, after meeting a delegation of the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong Border Area Raid Nongtung, a conglomeration of traditional village chiefs. “The exact date has to be finalised but we will be meeting in Guwahati,” Sangma said. Regional committees will be formed by the two states to take the process forward for the second phase of the border talks, he said. The delegation sought the intervention of the chief minister to ensure 18 of 34 villages under Raid Nongtung in disputed block-II be retained in Meghalaya.
“That is the reason why we have moved forward in six of the twelve areas in the first phase…” Sangma said.
Expressing confidence that the two states will also find a solution for the remaining six locations, the chief minister said it will take time. “We have to move forward and we have to allow the process to continue. We have to consult and engage with all the stakeholders that are involved,” he said.
Synjuk president Blickstar Sohtun said they have urged the chief minister to ensure all the 18 villages under Raid Nongtung should not go to Assam at any cost.
“The CM has assured us that very soon the border dispute will be resolved. We are confident that today’s meeting will bring positive results for the people who have been facing various hardships and problems in the border areas,” he said.