Umsaw: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday ruled out revisiting the Memorandum of Understanding boundary agreement signed with Meghalaya in six out of the 12 areas of differences.
He also informed that the next six areas would be taken up for resolution by June or July.
“The agreement is sealed and signed. There is a demand from the opposition parties in Assam too to review the agreement. I have answered it in the (Assam) Assembly that these are land that belongs to India, as brothers and sisters we signed an agreement and have come to a closure so far to those six sites. So we should not reopen the issue,” Sarma said in reference to the signing of the MoU between him and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on March 29 last.
“The Survey of India is working. According to our memorandum of understanding, they will put border pillars and thereafter, the entire agreement will be formalised,” the Assam Chief Minister told journalists after inspecting the Passing Out Parade at the North Eastern Police Academy in Meghalaya’s Ri-Bhoi district.
Pointed out that several residents along the inter-state boundary were not satisfied with the agreement, Sarma quipped, “Always there will be individuals who will be unhappy, but, nation should be happy. That should be our motto.”
Refusing to comment on the stand taken by the opposition Trinamool Congress in Meghalaya on the inter-state boundary agreement, the Assam Chief Minister said, “ I don’t want to comment anything on opposition in Meghalaya. This is the duty of the Chief Minister of Meghalaya to handle any congratulations or any criticism. But so far as Assam is concerned, we have replied to all the criticism in the assembly and by and large the civil society in Assam are backing the government completely.”
Asked as to when the second round of talks between the two neighbouring state governments would begin to arrive at a solution to the vexed boundary issue regarding six areas of difference, Sarma said, “These are difficult terrain. Out of six sites, three-four are very, very toughly contested areas. Now we have created goodwill among both the states and basically banking on that goodwill, probably we can start working. But how and when it will end, this is difficult to predict as of now,” he said.
“The second phase is most complicated and most contested area, because this has Lampih, Block-I, Block-II. However, we have created goodwill among the states. Now, at least both the governments and citizens of Assam and Meghalaya are not talking in terms of conflict; they are talking in terms of resolution of conflict. So, banking on the gains, whatever we had in the first phase, we will start dialogue for the second phase,” Sarma said.
Voicing confidence that “at some point of time” there will be resolution to the disputes regarding the remaining six areas of difference between the two states also, the Assam Chief Minister said, “But when and how soon, how far, will be difficult to answer at this stage.”
Sarma also expressed confidence in resolving boundary disputes with Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. “I am confident that a resolution with Arunachal Pradesh would be arrived at soon. The dispute with Nagaland is pending before the Supreme Court and resolution therefore may take time,” he said.