Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh Home Minister Bamang Felix on Tuesday told the State Assembly that the protracted inter-state boundary dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is being taken up in right earnest with the two state governments working to settle the issue amicably.
“Both the state governments have held preliminary discussions. It has been resolved to settle the long-pending boundary issue in an amicable manner through mutually agreed-upon criteria,” Felix informed, while responding to a question from senior Congress member and former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki during the Question Hour.
Replying to a supplementary, the Home Minister said, “This is an inherited dispute that has been continuing since the North East Frontier Tract (NEFT) days. In 2007-08, the Supreme Court appointed a Local Boundary Commission with a former judge of SC as the Chairman has to be assisted by two other members and they submitted its recommendations to the apex court in 2014.
“Accordingly, the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, as per the Cabinet decision of February 3, 2015, agreed upon the recommendations of the Local Commission. However, the Government of Assam did not accept the recommendations of the Local Commission and filed a rejoinder to the original suit No.1 of 1989.
“In view of the above, the Supreme Court decided that regular trial be taken up for framing of issue. As of now, the cross examination of Assam side has been completed. From our side, we have also started submitting affidavits of the witnesses. However, in between because of the pandemic, we could not continue. We are still continuing now,” he added.
The Minister directed the governments of both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to resolve the boundary issue at the state level. “I want to inform the House that Union Home Minister Amit Shah wants to see the entire North Eastern sister states to live in peace, including the Assam-Arunachal boundary issue to settle,” he said.
Keeping that in mind, Chief Minister Pema Khandu has on July 15, 2021, constituted a High Powered Ministerial Committee (HPMC) to find out the ways and means to bring a permanent solution to the vexed inter-state boundary issue, he said.
The HPMC, led by the Home Minister himself, has held lots of exercises and meetings with various stakeholders, including all the political parties and the legislators of all 12 border districts, both at the state as well as district level.
“After completing the entire exercise, we have submitted the report to the state government and the Cabinet also decided that today itself, we are sending all those findings to our counterparts in Assam,” Felix informed the House.
To another supplementary from senior Congress member Ninong Ering, the Home Minister informed that the disputed area (between the two NE states) is ranging more than 700 km across the state, comprising 12 out of 25 districts.
While admitting that sometimes ‘obstructions’ do surface on developmental activities and the department was well aware of the same, Felix told the House, “We are taking up the matter with our Assam counterpart and most of the time it is resolved also. We also want such things to not happen again.”