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Dispur favours talks with Nagaland

Guwahati, Dec. 11: The Assam government today said it is in favour of resolving its long-pending border dispute with Nagaland through mediation.

Minister of state for border areas development Siddique Ahmed today told the Assembly that the state government wants to settle the inter-state border row through the two co-mediators appointed by the Supreme Court.

The apex court had appointed two co-mediators — senior advocates Sriram Panchu of Madras High Court and Niranjan Bhat of Gujarat High Court — for resolving the boundary dispute between Assam and Nagaland.

Ahmed made the statement during a discussion on a private member’s resolution moved by AGP MLAs Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhusan Choudhury, stating that the state government should take steps for implementation of the recommendations made by the K.V.K. Sundaram Commission.

It was supported by BJP legislator Prasanta Phukan and AIUDF legislator Aminul Islam.

The Union government on July 7, 1972 had constituted the commission to submit recommendations for a solution to the Assam-Nagaland border problem. Accordingly, the commission held discussions with representatives of Assam and Nagaland between 1972 and 1976 before submitting its recommendations to the Centre.

Though Assam accepted the recommendations of the commission, Nagaland did not agree to it.

Ahmed said the Assam government cannot agree to the private members’ resolution since the matter is sub-judice and the co-mediators are trying to work out a solution.

Mahanta said there is an urgent need to find a settlement to the border dispute, which can be done by implementing the recommendations of the Sundaram commission, since several incidents of violence and arson have been reported from the disputed areas.

Echoing him, Phukan said that illegal activities carried out by NSCN cadres in the border areas posed a grave security threat. Phukan said Nagaland had encroached into 4,900 acres of Assam’s land in Jorhat, the home district of chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

Accusing the state government of remaining a mute spectator to Nagaland’s aggression, Islam said there has been no visible action from Dispur though Nagaland police are harassing Assam villagers.

Ahmed agreed that in some border areas the NSCN is active but said the Centre had deployed neutral forces to maintain law and order in the disputed areas.

Ahmed also said that the state government would carry out development work in the border areas from the chief minister’s special package of Rs 40 crore and proposals had been sought from the deputy commissioners for infrastructure development such as construction of roads and bridges.

He, however, added that getting forest clearance for development work had been a constraint because many border areas are notified forest areas.

Ahmed then requested the AGP legislators to withdraw their resolution and they complied.

In a separate development, AGP MLA Padma Hazarika raised the issue of flood-affected people of Biswanath area in Sonitpur district not getting any compensation.


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