Meghalaya reiterates commitment to solving border dispute

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Shillong, Mar 31 (UNI) The Meghalaya government has reiterated its commitment to solving the ''genuine difficulties'' of the people living along the international border that the state shares with Bangladesh.

''The government is aware that the citizens of some sectors on the Indo-Bangladesh border have been experiencing difficulties with respect to the proposed fencing,'' an official statement here said.

Fencing of the international boundary is necessary for security of citizens and to check infiltration and movement of militants to the state from across the international border, the official release said.

Meghalaya shares 423 km of the international border with Bangladesh, of which 195 km have been fenced till date.

Earlier, a meeting was held between the state government officials, BSF and representatives of the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), which is the implementing agency on the need for a review of the ongoing fencing work.

The meeting decided that as far as sensitive areas were concerned and where there was opposition from the local people, fencing work would be taken up only after the concerned Deputy Commissioner sorted out the issues with the local people. In areas of adverse possession, construction of the fence would be kept in abeyance till the problem was sorted out in consultation with the Centre.

Fresh survey would be conducted and a map prepared showing the actual position of the fencing in areas where the existing fencing lies beyond 150 yards from the zero line. The decisions taken at the meeting were communicated to the Centre and also to the concerned implementing agency, including the Deputy Commissioner for necessary action.

''On the question of taking up the boundary fencing from the zero line, the Government is the only authority competent to decide the matter,'' the official statement said. ''The state government will request the Centre to review the matter in favour of a fence, running as close as possible to the zero line, if not on the zero line itself,'' the statement added.

The state government also reiterated that the status of the land between the zero line and the existing fence would remain unaltered, with free access for the people for the purpose of cultivation.


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