Assam may concede claims on half of disputed border with Meghalaya: Report

  • | Tuesday | 18th January, 2022

Guwahati, Jan 18 (PTI) Assam has indicated it may concede half of its claimed areas along the disputed border with Meghalaya, according to a report finalised by the joint committees of the two states formed to look into the issue. The committees have also set a time-frame for implementing the recommendations including gaining legislative approval for a Constitutional Amendment to re-draw the state boundaries within one year. Out of 36.79 sq km disputed area taken up for settlement in the first phase, Assam will get 18.51sq km while Meghalaya will get 18.28 sq km, according to the final recommendations given by the three regional committees formed by the two states to look into six disputed border stretches. Findings and recommendations of the committees were shared by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma with political parties of the state on Tuesday through a presentation, a copy of which is available with PTI. Three committees each were formed by the two state governments in August 2021 after the two rounds of talks between Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma to resolve the vexed border dispute in a phased manner. Out of 12 identified points of disputes between the two states, six points were taken up for resolution in the first phase. According to the report, of the disputed areas taken up in the first phase, 7.17 sq km is in adverse possession of Meghalaya, while remaining 29.62 sq km is under dual franchise or administrative control. Gizang and Ratacherra sectors in Kamrup and Cachar districts of Assam respectively have the largest disputed areas among the six sectors in three districts of Assam which have been taken up in the first phase. Among the areas under adverse possession of Meghalaya, 6.42 sq km in Ratacherra sector of Cachar is with the neighboring state. According to the final recommendations, Assam will get full control of 11.94 sq km of the disputed land in Kamrup with the remaining 11.36 sq km going to Meghalaya. In Kamrup Metropolitan, Assam will keep 1.79 sq km and Meghalaya will get 0.50 sq km, while in Cachar, Assam will have 4.78 sq km under its full control against Meghalaya"s 6.42 sq km. The regional committees have also defined timelines for settling the dispute. It has recommended issuing of ordinance specifying the boundaries within a month as well as sensitizing key stakeholders, including Ministry of Home Affairs, about the final recommendations in the same period. It has set a time of three months for approval of the recommendations by both the state governments and their legislatures, demarcation of boundaries and fixation of permanent pillars to be led by Survey of India within six months and approval of Parliament for a Constitutional Amendment within a year. . The committees had taken five agreed principles into consideration while approaching the disputes - historical perspective, ethnicity of local population, contiguity with boundary, people"s will and administrative convenience. Both the states had conducted joint inspections of the disputed areas and held multiple rounds of talks before arriving at the joint recommendations over the last few months. Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 and it had challenged the Assam Reorganization Act, 1971, leading to border disputes at 12 areas in different parts of the shared 884.9 km long border.PTI SSG JRC JRC

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