Shillong, Nov 7: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-backed Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government today assured the Assembly of settling the border dispute with Assam ''within six months''.
''We will settle the inter-state boundary dispute within a span of six months. We have met the chief minister of Assam and decided to solve the issue,'' deputy Chief Minister in-charge of Home HS Lyngdoh said.
Both the state governments had constituted a coordination committee comprising the chief secretaries and deputy commissioners of disputed sectors to assist in resolving the disputes amicably, he added.
Mr Lyngdoh was replying to a query raised by the Leader of the Opposition DD Lapang in the House during the Question Hour.
In the course of his reply, Mr Lyngdoh stated that Meghalaya had several sectors of boundary dispute with Assam, starting from the Garo Hills in the West to Cachar Hills in the East. In the Khasi Hills sectors alone, the home minister informed that more than 150 villages had been claimed by Assam.
He informed that Assam had claimed 150 villages in Langpih, Nongwah and Raid Nongtung sectors which were under the jurisdiction of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council.
He said Assam had set up police outpost in these sectors in clear violation of the status agreement reached between the two states for the last decades. ''We have also decided to set up our permanent police outpost at Langpih very soon,'' the Home Minister informed the House. He, however, added that a temporary police outpost had been set up at Lejadubi near Langpih.
The issue heated up when the Leader of the Opposition sprang to his feet and demanded clarification on whether Block I and II were disputed areas or encroached by Assam.
The Home Minister repeatedly accused Mr Lapang for his inability to solve the border dispute during his long spell of Chief Ministership.
''I have gone to those areas many times and those areas are very much our land and fall under Meghalaya,'' Mr Lyngdoh said, adding it was only Mr Lapang who kept on saying that ''status quo should be maintained on the areas.'' Mr Lapang, however, alleged that the government was not serious in sorting the vexed issue.
Assembly Speaker Bindo M Lanong intervened by urging the government to take the issue seriously as this matter has been pending for the last 37 years.
''There have been claims and counter-claims on this vexed issue which need immediate solution. The government should take this matter seriously,'' he said.