Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma met Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday and held discussions for resolving the disputes between the two Northeastern neighbours in the remaining six areas along the border.
Speaking to media persons after the first meeting of both the states for the second phase of the border talks for the remaining six areas of differences, at Khanapara in Guwahati today, Sarma exuded confidence about resolving the border disputed much earlier than expected.
Today marks the beginning of the second phase of border talks since Conrad K Sangma got re-elected as chief minister of Meghalaya. “For the first time, we are interacting at an official-level and I believe that through a process of discussion and mutual trust, we will be able to resolve the matter much earlier than we expected,” Sarma said.
Similarly, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said that during the meeting, both the leaders went through all the details and reports and discussions took place. “We have asked the regional committees to start the process of fact finding, discussion with stakeholders and same process, followed in previous phase, will continue and we hope that we will be able to get the reports very soon,” he said.
Referring to the recent clash at Khanduli, Sangma said that both the chief ministers be will be visiting the areas of dispute, especially those areas bordering Karbi Anglong and West Jaintia Hills in June.
“This visit is mostly to appeal to the people to maintain peace, to build their confidence; and while the talks are ongoing, I appeal to the people to maintain peace. We expect in July, we will be meeting again to review the reports and progress of work of the different committees,” said the Chief Minister of Meghalaya.
Furthermore, Sangma informed that the Survey of India has been asked to continue with the survey work like was done in the first phase. “We have asked them to discuss with officials and people at the grassroot and to finish the survey at the earliest,” he said.
When asked about a timeframe, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that these remaining six areas of differences are complicated in nature and “hence, putting a timeframe is not a fair idea but we agreed today that we will again meet in July to review the progress of the work done by the regional committees.”
“There will be some areas where solution can be arrived at, at the earliest but some will take time. We have consciously decided not to put any timeframe before us but decided to meet again in July,” the Assam Chief Minister added.
To a question on the complicated nature of the talks in the remaining six areas of differences, Sarma said that out of these six areas, there are Langpih, Khanduli – block I and Block II.
“People of both the states are emotional about this issue. And in Assam side, the question of the district council is also there where the Assam government do not directly have control over land; yes, these areas will be difficult, but as Meghalaya Chief Minister – Where there is a will, there is a way. Hence, we have decided to progress and go ahead in the same spirit of friendship,” Sarma said.