Meghalaya revenue minister R.C. Laloo speaks during question hour on the first day of the winter session of the Assembly in Shillong on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos
Shillong, Dec. 11: Meghalaya today claimed that Assam has not obtained even an inch of land from the state government in areas along the border of Khasi-Jaintia hills.
Revenue minister Roytre Christopher Laloo said this in the Assembly while replying to a query raised by veteran legislator and Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) leader Hoping Stone Lyngdoh.
Lyngdoh sought answers as to how many square kilometres of land along the border of Khasi-Jaintia hills has been given away to the neighbouring state.
“No land along the border of Khasi-Jaintia hills has been given to Assam by the Meghalaya government,” Laloo said on the first day of the winter session.
However, Lyngdoh, while raising a supplementary question, sought to know about the fate of 153 villages along the Khasi-Jaintia hills, which were supposedly not shown in the 2009 map of Meghalaya prepared by the Survey of India.
To this query, while stating that the government had taken up the matter with the Survey of India, Laloo said the body had clarified by affirming that the 2009 map was prepared based on interpretation of the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971.
However, the revenue minister added that this was yet to be verified by both Meghalaya and Assam.
The 2009 map of Meghalaya prepared by Survey of India shows that Langpih and Blocks I and II areas are no longer part of the state while a 1979-80 map shows one within the state and the other two as “disputed” areas.
The 1979-80 map of the Meghalaya-Assam boundary was prepared by the then joint director of Meghalaya Surveys, in accordance with the definition of sub-para (2) of para 20 of the Sixth Schedule.
It clearly shows Langpih, along the boundary of West Khasi Hills-Kamrup district, as an area within Meghalaya, while it shows Block I, along the boundary of Jaintia Hills-North Cachar Hills districts, and Block II, along the boundary of Ri Bhoi-Karbi Anglong districts, as “disputed” sites.
Further, Laloo said the state government has submitted its claims on the 12 areas of difference to Assam but the Tarun Gogoi government was yet to respond to the claims.
The 12 areas of difference between Assam and Meghalaya are Upper Tarabari, Gizang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah-Matamur, Khanapara-Pillangkata, Deshdemoreah, Block I & Block II, Khanduli-Psiar and Ratacherra.
These areas fall under West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Ri Bhoi districts of Meghalaya and cover around 2,700 square km, of which about 1,500 square km area is under Blocks I and II. These two blocks had been transferred to the then United Mikir and North Cachar Hills district on April 13, 1951.