‘Challenge to maintain status quo along inter-state border’

SHILLONG, Feb 15: Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma has said that there is a challenge in maintaining border status quo with neighbouring Assam.

Stating that in the past too many incidents has taken place because there has been an issue who should do the developmental works in areas of dispute between Meghalaya and Assam.

“This kind of incident had been taking place. We are trying to ensure that the status quo is maintained so that the sentiment of the people is not hurt. That is where the challenge lies,” Conrad said.

His statement comes in the wake of lathi-charge on Meghalaya residents and MeECL staff by Assam police on Thursday in Umwali near Langpih over an electrification issue.

The Chief Minister said that Meghalaya has been maintaining a very strong stand with its Assam counterpart to ensure that this kind of incident does not take place in the future.

He also said that he doesn’t think the work would resume immediately. “We would get the situation normalise first and then move forward,” Conrad stated.

When asked that there is agreement between the two neighbouring that developmental activities would not be disturbed on both sides of inter-State borders but sadly Assam has never adhere to this agreement, the Chief Minister said that this is happening on both sides and this does not happen only from their side.

“Even when Assam Government takes up developmental works in some areas, (of dispute) sometimes people from Meghalaya also opposes to the implementation of such projects,” Conrad said.

According to him these kinds of things are natural since people are very sentimental about the whole issue.

He pointed out that even though such issues crop up the state government is trying to ensure that developmental activities along the inter-state border should not stop.

Replying to a question that not a single high level or Chief Minister level meeting has been held to resolve this long pending boundary dispute in recent past, he said that the situation has been there since the inception of the state even as he stated that it is not easy to find the right time and place to hold such meetings.

He also pointed out that there is a need to hold preliminary ground works before holding discussions on the boundary disputes at the top level.

However the Chief Minister said that there are discussions at different levels.

“But if the meeting at the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary level is to be held, it should come out with some concrete points,” Conrad said.

Meanwhile, when asked about the documents submitted by Meghalaya government to substantiate its claim on 12 areas of differences, he said that the past governments also has not been able to resolve this issue since there are claims and counter claims.

“The documentations are there from our side and from the Assam side also. Therefore, it is situation that yes we need to find a solution also to this. But at the same time we need to ensure that there is peace and harmony in the border areas, we need to take the people into confidence and also ensure that development is not affected,” Conrad said.

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