Meghalaya-Assam CMs to discuss boundary row

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Shillong, Jun 8 (UNI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Donkupar Roy would meet his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi on June 11 to restart talks on the vexed inter-state boundary dispute.

The proposed talks between the two Chief Ministers assumed significance against the backdrop of the recent controversy over Langpih village, an area which both Assam and Meghalaya claimed belonged to them.

''We will voice our people's demand to Mr Gogoi to sort out the long-standing inter-state boundary dispute at the earliest, besides stressing on Assam's encroachment of land at Langpih, '' Dr Roy told UNI here today.

''Constitutionally and also by official documentation, the land belongs to Meghalaya,'' he said adding, ''Langpih has a total of 74 villages of Garo and Khasi people. Meghalaya has 12 areas of difference with Assam. '' Not only with Meghalaya, Assam had a dispute with Arunachal Pradesh over the boundary of forest land.

Another neighbouring state, Nagaland, has a similar dispute with Assam and security forces had been deployed in a large area of Upper Assam's Golaghat district adjoining Nagaland for maintaining the status quo in the disputed areas.

Last week, the Assam government ignored Meghalaya plea and laid the foundation of Health Sub-Centre at Langpih, which Meghalaya government claimed that the area ''belongs'' to them.

Soon after Assam Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that the traditional ritual of initiating development had been completed, Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Hoping Stone Lyngdoh threatened to dismantle the foundation.

The Meghalaya government had also taken up the matter with Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and sought his intervention to avoid backlash, even as it was considering to move the Supreme Court, if talks with Assam failed to sort out the vexed inter-state border problem, while the Congress had called for the Centre's intervention.

''We don't want to declare war. Meghalaya and Assam are like brothers and sisters. If a solution to the matter cannot be found through talks with Assam, we will have the option of going to the Central Government or moving the apex court,'' Dr Roy said.

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