Border dispute: Assam, Meghalaya ministers meet, to visit disputed area

Shillong/Guwahati: State governments in talks for six areas of difference including Langpih and Mukroh

BY | Tuesday, 29 August, 2023

In a bid to find a mutually acceptable solution to the border disputes between Assam and Meghalaya, two ministers representing the northeastern neighbours held a meeting on Monday and decided to conduct a joint visit to villages under disputed Langpih area next month.

Langpih, located about 100 km away from Shillong, lies between Kamrup district of Assam and West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.

Chandra Mohan Patowary and Paul Lyngdoh, ministers of Assam and Meghalaya respectively, led their respective regional committees in the meeting at Shillong, an official release said.

”The disputed areas have now been narrowed down and members of both the regional committees will make an on-site visit to the identified areas in the last part of September after the Assembly sessions in both states ended,” Patowary told reporters.

The views of all stakeholders will be taken during the visit and a settlement will be reached, he said.

“The members of the district council and deputy commissioners of both states have been tasked with the responsibility of preparing a list and coming up with specific names (of villages, which are problem-free) in the next meeting when we undertake the joint inspection,” Lyngdoh said.

In Langpi area, several villages are disputed while others are not.

“We will try to cater to four or five villages and choose a central point as the meeting point so that we can go for site visits in the month of September,” he said.

The views of all stakeholders will be taken during the visit and a settlement will be reached, Patowary said.

The Assam minister expressed confidence that the dispute would be resolved within a very short time.

He, however, said, “Unless we visit the area, unless we know the mindset of the people of that area, where they want to stay…, we will not be in a position to tell you more.”

The two states signed an MoU in March last year to end the dispute in six of the 12 areas of differences between the two neighbouring states.

The state governments are in talks for the remaining six areas of difference which included Langpih in West Khasi Hills district and Mukroh in West Jaintia Hills district.

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 and it had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, leading to disputes in 12 areas of the 884.9 km long border between the two states.

Three regional committees were set up in August 2021 to resolve the boundary dispute in a phased manner.

The regional committees submitted their recommendations which were handed over to Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, followed by the signing of an MoU on March 29, 2022, to resolve disputes in six of the 12 areas.

According to the agreement, 36.79 sq km of the disputed area was taken up for settlement in the first phase with Assam getting full control of 18.51 sq km and Meghalaya over 18.28 sq km of land.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma had last met on May 24 to discuss ways to resolve the issues in six of the remaining areas.

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