The governments of Assam and Meghalaya today signed a historic agreement in Delhi to settle their 50-year-old inter-state border dispute. The agreement was signed by the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the home ministry’s office.
The chief ministers of Meghalaya and Assam had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Guwahati on 29 January to resolve the border dispute at six places — Tarabari, Gijang, Hakim, Boklapada, Khanapara-Pilangkata and Ratchera — in the first phase. The MoU was sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 31 January.
Today, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma signed the agreement in the presence of the chief secretaries of both the states, other officials of these states and top MHA bureaucrats.
The governments of Assam and Meghalaya came out with a draft resolution to resolve their border disputes in six of the 12 “zones of difference” along the 884 km border. As per the proposed recommendations for 36.79 sq km of land, Assam will keep 18.51 sq km and give the remaining 18.28 sq km to Meghalaya.
After the historic agreement, Assam Chief Minister Sarma said, “This is a historic day for us. After this MoU, we aim to solve the problem of remaining disputed sites in the next 6-7 months. We will bring the Northeast region to the country.” We will work towards making it an engine of growth.” He said, “The union home mnistry also requested to resolve the border disputes between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. I had a meeting with the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister where we made a road map to settle the 122 disputed points. Preliminary discussions have started with the chief ministers of Mizoram and Nagaland.”
Meghalaya Chief Minister Sangma said, “First of all, I want to thank Home Minister Amit Shah for directing us to resolve the border disputes in the northeastern states. Today the first phase of resolution has been done. This became possible only because of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.”
“I would also like to thank all the members of the committee and the officials of both the states. We will try to resolve further differences between our states at the earliest,” Sangma said.
Union Home Minister Shah said, “Today, the 50-year-old pending border dispute between Assam and Meghalaya has been resolved. Six out of 12 points of dispute have been resolved, which covers about 70% of the border. The remaining six points will be resolved as soon as possible.”
“Since 2014, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji has made many efforts for the development of the Northeast. Today, I congratulate the chief minister of Assam and the chief minister of Meghalaya and their teams on signing the agreement to resolve their border dispute “
The border dispute has led to several violent incidents in the past, with one such major incident erupting in 2010. Four people were killed in police firing in Langpih, one of the 12 disputed areas.
The agreement between Assam and Meghalaya is important as the border dispute between the two states had been pending for a very long time. Notably, Meghalaya was carved out of Assam in 1972 and challenged the Assam Reorganization Act, 1971, leading to a dispute over 12 areas in different parts of the 884.9-km-long common border.