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Assam-Meghalaya CMs visit inter-state land dispute site

Both the Chief Ministers arrived together in a helicopter from Guwahati and landed at Langpih Bazar and addressed a massive gathering, which was attended by people from the adjoining areas.

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Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday visited Langpih along the disputed inter-state boundary as part of a goodwill gesture to send a message that both the governments are committed to resolving the
long-pending border differences.

Both the Chief Ministers arrived together in a helicopter from Guwahati and landed at Langpih Bazar and addressed a massive gathering, which was attended by people from the adjoining areas.

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The Chairman of Regional Committees constituted by both Assam and Meghalaya were also present at the meeting. Assam was represented by cabinet minister Atul Bora, while Meghalaya was represented by
cabinet minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar.

Chief Secretaries of both the States, including senior officials were also present at the meeting. Both sides agree that it’s a disputed area as Meghalaya has long claimed it as a part of its West Khasi Hills district and a substantial number of tribes from Meghalaya call the area as their home.

On the other side, Assam too claims Lumpi as an extension of its Kamrup district and many residents are Assam voters. Administratively, Langpih falls under Mawshynrut block and similarly, Lumpi falls under Boko-Bongaon block.

Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said, “It is a historic day for both the States as this visit will demonstrate the message of commitment between Assam and Meghalaya
that have resolved to settle the border differences amicably.”
Sangma thanked his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma for deciding to jointly visit Langpih and meet the people.

“We are committed to discussing the border differences and find ways to resolve this long-pending issue,” he assured the villagers while stating that the people of the Langpih area have suffered in the last
49 years because of the differences that exist.

Noting that the 12 areas of differences between Assam and Meghalaya, which included Langpih has seen violence and loss of precious lives, the Chief Minister said, “the Chief Minister of Assam and myself decided that we need to do something to resolve these border differences and find an amicable way forward.”

“It is a very complex issue, and people’s sentiment and emotions are involved, hence both of us agreed that together we have to find a way forward,” he underscored. “If we don’t try and move forward we will be failing in our responsibility that you the people of Assam and Meghalaya have bestowed upon us, he further stated.

Terming the visit to the disputed area as “historic”, Assam Chief Minister Sarma said that the spirit of Northeast should be maintained as both the States resolve the border issues amicably.

He felt that in 1972 when Meghalaya was carved out of Assam, the border should have been demarcated but nonetheless, Assam has never opposed the creation of any states carved out of Assam and the people of Assam love to call themselves as Northeast.

He said that the people of Assam respect the spirit of the Northeast and it is showcased in its culture. “When we bifurcated Meghalaya from Assam, certain disputes stayed for long, which still existed. In 1972, if the border would have been demarcated, the history today would have been different,” he added.

“It is a fact that we have a dispute on borders… that dispute is always becoming an irritating factor…in the spirit of Northeast… sometimes things goes beyond our control. After I assumed the office of Chief Minister, I have started talking with my Meghalaya counterpart and I have been continuously engaging with Meghalaya to resolve the dispute.. so that we remain and maintain our age-old relationship,” Sarma said while stating that Assam and Meghalaya can collectively set the tune of united Northeast for the benefit of the entire region.

Stating that there are 12 areas of differences and both the States are working to resolve the issues on a phase-wise manner, the Assam Chief Minister said that the six areas of differences are being studied and that Langpih will be in the next phase.

Sarma further said that their visit to Langpih was a confidence-building measure and to tell the people that both the States are committed to resolving the issues.

“Both the States have agreed to ensure that the implementation of central government schemes will be executed in the area of differences in consultation with both the States so that people are not deprived of development,” the Assam Chief Minister said.

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