Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on March 7 expressed hope that the MoU signed between Meghalaya and Assam for resolving the six of the 12 areas of difference will be finalized during the meeting to be held in New Delhi on March 9.

Making a statement on the inter-state boundary issue in the assembly, Sangma informed that Union home minister Amit Shah has called both the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya to New Delhi on March 9, to finally discuss the MoU signed between the two states.

“I am very hopeful that we will be able to announce some positive statements based on the MoU that have been signed between the two states – that we should be able to come to a conclusion (on the six areas of difference),” he said.

“As per the MoU, both the state governments have agreed that no new areas of difference shall be added in the future beyond the 12 areas of difference,” he added.

The six areas of difference under the first phase include Tarabari (4.69 sq km), Gizang (13.53 sq km), Hahim (3.51 sq km), Boklapara (1.57 sq km), Khanapara-Pilangkata (2.29 sq km) and Ratacherra (11.20 sq km).

The chief minister further informed that out of 36 villages claimed by Meghalaya in 2011, a total of 30 – some fully and a few partially – is being recommended to be in Meghalaya.

Giving further details, Sangma said in West Khasi Hills, all the 8 villages in Tarabari while two out of three villages in Gizang and 11 out of 12 villages in Hahim will come to Meghalaya.

In Ri Bhoi, one out of two villages in Boklapara and 5 out of 6 villages in Khanapara-Pilangkata while 3 out of 5 villages in Ratacherra (East Jaintia Hills) will remain with the state, he added.

The chief minister said that the decision on the six areas of difference have been arrived at through a table-talk exercise using special technologies and that it will be more accurately determined during the survey to be undertaken by the Survey of India in the presence of representatives from both the states.

“A rough area of 36.79 sq km in these six areas are under differences and after detailed discussion, surveys and visits made by the regional committees, approximately 18 sq km plus minus will come to Meghalaya and 18 sq km plus minus will go to Assam,” he stated.

Sangma further maintained that the ownership of the land will not be affected irrespective of the administrative control by whichever states get the particular area.

Talking about the yardsticks adopted to resolve the six areas of differences, the chief minister said: “We have realized that we cannot sit down and base our decision only on the basis from the documentations we had from Assam or Meghalaya. Therefore, the five criteria (or principles) that we brought in had guided us to come to this conclusion. We have tried to look at people’s will and ethnicity as a criteria, while also considering the other criteria and past documents in order to be able to come to a situation where both states can come to a conclusion on these areas.”

Stating that he is happy to represent the statement on the golden jubilee year of the state, the chief minister expressed his thankfulness to the past chief ministers, ministers and officials for their contributions towards resolving the long-pending boundary dispute with Assam.

He also thanked the regional committees headed by cabinet ministers for their hard work to enable the two states to come to this particular solution.

“I also thank the chief minister of Assam, who has been very supportive and who is determined to see that we are able to come to a conclusion. Without his will and without the will of the government of Meghalaya, this would not have been possible. I also thank the CM of Assam for the entire push that he has been given from his end,” he said.

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