Leader of Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, on June 16 urged Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to hold urgent discussions with his Nagaland counterpart under central government mediation to resolve the inter-state boundary dispute issue, with particular reference to the inter-state border under Nazira sub-division.
Saikia mentioned that he had alerted the chief minister, via correspondence dated May 23 and June 5 about large-scale encroachment in the Gelakey Reserve Forest area by miscreants from across the inter-state.
Saikia alleged that the encroachment had taken place with the active assistance of the Nagaland government and the encroachers had not only destroyed tea bushes planted by small tea growers of Assam, but also set up a makeshift check-gate to prevent movement of people from the Assam side of the border.
He pointed out that whereas earlier personnel from Border Outposts of Assam in area such as Singibil, Mugapara, Sonapur etc. used to patrol the area, since early June, personnel of the Nagaland Police have also started to patrol the area.
He said while the Sivasagar district administration and sub-divisional authorities had dismantled the check-gate and some sheds on June 8 and 10 with the help of CRPF personnel, the problem was far from over.
Pointing that the governments of both Nagaland and Assam had accepted the termination point of the Pioneer Road as the inter-state boundary when it was constructed in 1978, he alleged that people from Nagaland later started encroaching upon Assam’s territory and resorted to extortion and seizure of livestock.
They even tried to set up polling stations during elections, he claimed.
Saikia said the local people were living in fear and uncertainty, with many persons losing their means of livelihood due to the encroachment.
Apart from immediate measures such as creation of more border outposts, deployment of additional security forces and appointment of a permanent border magistrate in the area, Saikia urged the chief minister to send a team led by the minister in-charge of border security, DGP and the additional chief secretary (home) to take stock of the situation on the inter-state border.