Assam asserts claim over Langpih, Meghalaya refuses to recognise

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Boko, Assam, May 31 (UNI) Assam today asserted its right over the contentious Langpih area on the Meghalaya border, about 100 km from Guwahati, by announcing a Rs 12-crore developmental package, even as Meghalaya refused to recognise the claim.

Soon after Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma laid the foundation for a primary health centre (PHC) and also opened a road at Langpih, about 30 km from here, Meghalaya government sources said whatever has been erected would be dismantled as the land belonged to Meghalaya.

Even as the Meghalaya government avoided a direct confrontation after days of mounting tension, the Assam minister proceeded with the events amidst 'indirect' opposition by Meghalaya as local Khasi people put obstacles by digging roads and felling trees on the minister's convoy route.

Though Meghalaya had sounded tough by saying it would not let down its guard, there was neither police nor officials.

Even after 61 years of independence, there are no proper roads in Langpih and the people are yet to have confirmation about their statehood which is why they are unable to practise their voting rights in both Assam and Meghalaya state elections.

The area, which Assam claims falls under Boko legislative constituency, is not a disputed portion and is represented in Meghalaya Assembly by the state's Home Minister.

With a population of about 2,500 of Khasi, Garo and Nepali people, Langpih has a dozen Khasi medium schools and six Assam government-run schools.

Dr Sharma, while laying the foundation stone, said the dispute, if any, should be redressed through proper channels and the region's development should not be stalled due to the feud.

He claimed that the portion up to upper Lumpee was Assam's territory and the state had been undertaking developmental activities in the recent times.

The Rs 12-crore package announced today includes Rs 10 crore for roads. Besides, Rs 1 crore each for health sector and establishing an inspection bungalow and police outpost had been alloted. The area has a Border outpost (BoP) at present and the police outpost would come up within seven days.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Donkupar Roy had visited the area on May 28 to assert his state's claims and had also talked to the Union Home Secretary yesterday, asking him to stop the Assam minister from the visit.

The Meghalaya Chief Secretray had earlier written to his Assam counerpart over the same issue.

However, Assam did not respond in any manner and went ahead with the programme.

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