Assam border talks

Guwahati, June 24: In an ongoing effort to find a resolution to the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute, the Ri-Bhoi regional committee, led by Meghalaya’s deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong, recently convened a panel meeting to discuss the next steps for border talks with Assam.

Following the meeting, Tynsong revealed that the regional committees from both states will hold a joint meeting in July. The purpose of this meeting is to address the inter-state boundary differences concerning the four sectors within Meghalaya’s Ri Bhoi district. Tynsong reiterated the government’s commitment to seeking the transfer of Block I and Block II to Meghalaya.

“We will arrange a joint meeting with the regional committee of our Assam counterpart. We will also conduct a joint inspection and assessment of the remaining areas of contention before making a final decision on this issue,” Tynsong stated.

The four sectors of concern in the Ri Bhoi district, namely Borduar, Nongwah-Mawtamur, Deshdoomreah, and Block-II, require the two regional committees to engage in discussions and reach a consensus on the necessary actions to resolve this longstanding dispute, which has remained unresolved for over 50 years.

Tynsong emphasized that the same criteria applied during previous phases of the talks would be utilized to find a solution to the dispute. “The willingness of the people is also a crucial aspect considered by this committee. Hence, the guidelines established during the previous phase will continue to guide us in this second phase,” he explained.

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Assuring that the government possesses all the necessary documents to support its claims over the four sectors, Tynsong expressed the intent to engage in constructive dialogue with their counterparts and conduct discussions at the village level to reach a final decision.

Regarding the demand to retransfer all villages under Block II back to Meghalaya, the deputy chief minister clarified that, in the case of Block I and Block II, it involves a question of retransferring, which has been misunderstood by some.

Furthermore, Tynsong highlighted that the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government is the first to take a resolute decision to address the long-standing boundary dispute with Assam after 50 years of statehood. He also reminded that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Assam, resolving six areas of contention during the first phase of border talks.

Last year, the two northeastern states signed an agreement to resolve their 50-year-old border dispute in six out of the 12 locations.

Addressing opposition against the MoU, Tynsong acknowledged that while a significant portion of Meghalaya’s population may agree, some might hold differing views.

Nevertheless, he affirmed that the government’s actions are driven by the best interests of the state’s future generations, vowing to proceed with the resolution process regardless of the challenges.

The upcoming joint meeting in July signifies another crucial step towards finding a mutually beneficial solution to the Assam-Meghalaya border dispute, with both regional committees committed to addressing the longstanding issue and fostering regional harmony.