Tuesday, October 4, 2022

M’laya CM rules out review of boundary agreement

Correspondent

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday ruled out revisiting the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Meghalaya and Assam government to resolve the boundary issue, which resulted in a war of words during the Question Hour in the Assembly.
The pandemonium ensued when lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator, Adelbert Nongrum told Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh that the latter had “annoyed” him by not letting him speak on the issue during Question Hour, following which the Speaker allowed him to raise just one question even as he asked Nongrum to refrain from disrespecting the chair.
Nongrum then dared the Chief Minister to review the MoU saying that the government did not take stakeholders into confidence while signing the boundary agreement. To this, the CM Sangma instead asked the KHNAM legislator to list out the 12 areas of differences between Meghalaya and Assam without reading it from paper and name the specific village where consultation was not held.
“Tell me the number of times he has visited these areas of difference,” Sangma posed a query to the KHNAM legislator.
But Nongrum did not reply to the Chief Minister’s query saying that he “will not do it since the Chief Minister is duty bound.”
Sangma said the state government “has dared” to move forward to resolve this complex issue and there was now no question of revisiting the MoU signed between the two governments.
Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong, who was sitting next to the Chief Minister in the House, also asked the KHNAM legislator to refrain from enacting “drama” and getting “emotional” in the House and stick to asking questions.
“I understand that we are all emotional about this topic and respect his sentiments. I had only asked the member to list the areas of difference because we get emotional about the issue without knowing the areas or villages. Just simply shouting and showing such drama for whatever reasons maybe elections is coming who knows, doesn’t help. Emotional outburst is unnecessary,” the CM said.
Earlier, replying to the question asked by suspended Congress legislator, Marylborn Syiem, Sangma said, Meghalaya and Assam government have reached the second phase to resolve the remaining six areas of difference.
He said the process of survey for the purpose of demarcation of boundaries was underway on the agreement reached during the first phase of the talks and subsequent MoU signed.
Countering arguments of the opposition members, Sangma said that during the first phase around 50 meetings were held between the two sides both at the Chief Ministers’ level and by the regional committees tasked to get people’s opinion from affected areas.
He also informed the House that 28 meetings were held and 17 field visits conducted at the grassroots in the six areas of difference.
The CM said that he himself held seven meetings with the representatives of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, political parties and NGOs.