Conrad says will work out solution to border dispute with Assam

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Shillong, June 28 (PTI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said his government would try work out a solution to the vexed boundary dispute with neighbouring Assam He said the state has a good relationship with the neighbouring state and that he was hopeful of resolving the boundary issue. The move to address the dispute comes at the initiative of the central government according to sources.

With the new leadership in Assam, a leadership with a very positive mindset and (having) good relationship with Meghalaya leadership, we are hopeful we will move forward and find an amicable solution, Sangma told reporters on Monday.

Asserting the need to look into all boundary related documentation with an open mind, Sangma said, we will start with a clean slate as the objective is really not to find faults but to find a solution.

The two states have 12 areas of disputes between them.

These are in Upper Tarabari, Gizang Reserve Forest, Hahim area, Langpih area, Bordwar area, Nongwah Mawtamur area, Pilangkata Khanapara area, Deshdemoria area, Khanduli area, Umkhyrni Psiar area, Areas of Block I and Block II and Ratacherra area.

Stating that the issue is very critical, Sangma said, I again stressed for an amicable solution which is acceptable to both parties. We are open for discussion.

Let us have a fresh start to the entire process and in this fresh start we will think of all the options that are there, he added.

The Central government wants North Eastern states to resolve their boundary disputes by next year, according to sources. The Chief Minister however said the timeline would depend on how the border talks move forward.

Yes, the union home minister had desired that before the 75th year of Indias Independence of the country all these issues not only between Meghalaya and Assam but Assam and other states should be resolved he confirmed.

He said it would be his endeavor to do so within the time frame given (by 2022) but it all depends on how the talks move forward.

The government of India has been sending us messages and asking us to move forward. The union home minister has said when countries like India and Bangladesh can resolve their border issues, why states within the country cant resolve the issue, he added.

Last week, Senior BJP leader and Health minister A L Hek called on Assam chief minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma and requested him to re-start the chief minister level talk to resolve the boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam.

Sangma revealed discussion at an unofficial level has been going on with the Chief Minister of Assam even before he took over. He also added that he had met Sarma over a friendly-dinner at Guwahati last week.

He also added that he had briefed his cabinet colleagues about the unofficial meeting with the Assam CM.

Stating that the issue is not easy to resolve, the Chief Minister said, It is a very complicated issue and therefore, there will not be a simple solution, it will require us to be able to figure out what would be amicably acceptable to both sides.

Asked about measures being taken by the government to stop alleged illegal encroachment by Assam, Sangma said he would hold direct talks with his Assam counterparts whenever he comes to know of such incidents.

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