Assam-Meghalaya begins process to resolve boundary problem

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Guwahati, Jul 31 (UNI) Assam and Meghalaya today formally began the lengthy process to resolve the boundary dispute, taking along the help of the Survey of India with the coordination committee holding its first meeting.

Both state's top civil administration, led by respective Chief Secretaries, met at the Guwahati circuit house to start the whole process.

Assam team was led by Chief Secretary Prafulla Sharma, while Meghalaya Chief Secretary Ranjan Chaterjee led the hill state's team.

Assam DGP R N Mathur was also there but Meghalaya did not send their DGP.

A 13-member team from the Survey of India was also there to assist both teams as the meeting started the process of getting written presentations from both sides.

Earlier, Meghalaya and Assam had decided to bury their difference on the border dispute and decided to form a coordination committee to look into the disputed areas in a bid to resolve the problem in a phased manner.

This was decided at a high level meeting between Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and his Meghalaya counterpart Donkupar Roy besides senior officials from both sides.

The committee comprising the Chief Secretaries of states, Deputy Commissioners, Kamrup and West Khasi hills, Principal Secretaries of Revenue and Survey of India officials would look into the disputed area of Langpih and submit its report within six months.

Both Chief Ministers agreed that amicable solution to the other disputed areas would be taken up by the committee in a phased manner.

As of now, both sides agreed to maintain status quo in the disputed Langpih area. The meeting decided that both sides would give prior information to each other about any development taking place in and around the disputed areas.

Mr Gogoi said, '' Assam wants to arrive at an amicable solution of the boundary row with neighbouring Meghalaya as per the provisions of the Constitution. All border disputes between the two States must be solved constitutionally. '' Meghalaya Chief Minister Dongkupar Roy also echoed the views of his counterpart while talking to newsmen recently.

Both Chief Ministers agreed to meet at regular intervals to pave the way for permanent settlement of the inter-state boundary dispute.

The two neighbouring states had been engaged in a bitter dispute over its boundaries with Langpih, about 100 km from Guwahati, becoming the focal point.

Assam claimed it to be a part of its Kamrup (Rural) district and had gone ahead with a foundation stone-laying ceremony of a health care centre and road development package despite warnings by Meghalaya to the contrary.

Meghalaya, on the other hand, had written to the Union Home Secretary as well as Mr Gogoi to pressurise Assam to forsake any claim over Langpih.

UNI MT SJC DB1851

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