Guwahati: Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya on Tuesday signed a historic agreement for the settlement of inter-state border dispute in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The Home Minister said it is “a historic day” for a dispute-free northeast and noted that in a short span of time, 6 out of 12 issues have been settled between Assam and Meghalaya and about 70 per cent of the border between the two states has become dispute-free.
He said during the last three years, the union government has signed several agreements for ending extremism and for lasting peace in the northeastern states.
The Home Minister said PM Modi has made several efforts for the peace process, development, prosperity and promotion of the cultural heritage of the northeast, which “we all have witnessed, since 2014, when he became the Prime Minister”.
Looking at the journey from 2019 to 2022, there have seen many big achievements in establishing peace in the North East – NLFT agreement in August 2019, the Bru-Reang agreement on January 16, 2020, the Bodo agreement on January 27, 2020, the Karbi-Anglong agreement on September 4, 2021, and today’s Assam-Meghalaya border agreement.
Assam Chief Minister Hemant Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma expressed gratitude to PM Modi and Amit Shah for solving this decades-long problem.
Noting that development of the Northeast is not possible unless disputes between states are resolved and armed groups surrender, the Home Minister said that efforts should be made in the year of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a peaceful and prosperous northeast.
PM Modi has described the northeast as “Ashtalakshmi”. The Home Minister said that with the efforts of the government, the North East Region (NER) will not only be a part of the national mainstream but will also be the driving force in national development.
He said the Modi government has taken several initiatives including a narcotics-free, flood-free and infiltration-free North East and both the Centre and northeastern states are progressing in a time-bound manner on all these fronts.
Noting that another 50-year-old dispute is going to be resolved with today’s agreement, he said that from 2019 to 2022, more than 6,900 armed cadres have surrendered and more than 4,800 weapons have been surrendered to the administration.
The Home Minister said NLFT (SD) agreement was signed in August, 2019 to bring the extremists in the mainstream of society in Tripura which contributed greatly in making Tripura a peaceful state. A landmark agreement was signed on January 16, 2020, to solve the 23-year-old Bru-Reang refugee crisis forever. Under this, more than 37,000 tribals who were leading a difficult life, are now living a life of dignity today.
Amit Shah said that the Bodo Accord signed on January 27, 2020 resolved the 50-year-old Bodo issue while maintaining the original form of Assam. The Assam Government and the Government of India have fulfilled 95 per cent of the terms of this agreement and today Bodoland is known as a peaceful region and is on the path of development.
The Karbi-Anglong Agreement was signed on September 4, 2021 to resolve the long-standing dispute in the Karbi regions of Assam. Under this, more than 1,000 armed cadres surrendered and joined the mainstream.
He thanked the Chief Ministers and officials of both the states on behalf of PM Modi and the central government.
Amit Shah said he is confident that the strong political will shown by the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, “we will make the North East dispute-free through discussions with all the states”.
A Home Ministry release said it has been the consistent approach of the central government that inter-state boundary issues can be resolved only with the cooperation of the state governments concerned.
It said the central government acts as a facilitator for amicable settlement of the boundary issue in the spirit of mutual cooperation and understanding.
The release said that the agreement will benefit people living in the area and ensure long-lasting peace and boost development. “This agreement exemplifies cooperative federalism and will provide a roadmap for resolution of other boundary disputes between states,” the release said.