Shillong: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said on Wednesday that Meghalaya would stick to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed last year with Assam settling disputes in six areas and go ahead with negotiations for finding an amicable solution to the remaining six areas of difference out of the total 12 on the inter-state boundary.
“We are very clear, we will be sticking to this MoU and going forward with discussion,” he said in the course of his reply to a discussion on a special motion moved by opposition Congress legislator, Charles Marngar, calling for a review of the MoU signed between chief ministers of the two states.
The Chief Minister informed that the MoU was signed at the highest level by the chief ministers of the two states in the presence of the Union Home Minister.
Sangma said that negotiations regarding the remaining six areas of difference would begin in April-May this year.
The Chief Minister said that the MoU signed with the Assam government was in keeping with the larger interests of the people, adding that of the 36 disputed villages, Meghalaya has acquired over 31.
Sangma said that the issue of boundary settlement was also taken up by him during his recent meetings with President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and other Central leaders in New Delhi.
Further, the Chief Minister informed that the regional committees for holding talks with all the stakeholders have been reconstituted and said that Meghalaya would proceed with an “open mind” for holding talks with Assam to resolve the dispute over six more areas.
Stating that the inter-state boundary issue was “politically and socially sensitive”, Sangma iterated that there would never be a “perfect solution” but that endeavor had to be made for the “best possible solution”, and emphasized that the issue was between two neighbouring states and not between two different countries.
Mentioning that several lives were lost and people living on the disputed inter-state boundary had suffered a lot ever since statehood due to non-resolution of the issue, Sangma said the state government has enough manpower to ensure the safety and security of the people living in the disputed areas.
“I am in constant touch with the honourable chief minister of Assam, and we are determined to find an amicable solution to the border issue,” Sangma said, indicating that so far 10 official meetings had been held between him and his Assam counterpart, Himanta Biswa Sarma, to resolve the boundary dispute.