|Mukul Sangma speaks in the Meghalaya Assembly on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos
Shillong, Oct. 8: Meghalaya has asked Assam not to accept land pattas issued by traditional heads to villagers living along the inter-state boundary as a step to entangle the border mess.
Chief minister Mukul Sangma said this in the Assembly on the third day of the autumn session today.
“We have prevailed upon the Assam government not to recognise the land pattas, issued by traditional heads to border villagers, for land registration,” Sangma said during Question Hour.
In some of the border villages, land is leased to the inhabitants and traditional heads, like syiems (chieftains), issue certain pattas to the villagers. The villagers use the pattas to register their land not with the Meghalaya government, but in Assam.
Taking serious note of the development, Meghalaya has told Assam that it should not encourage registration of land based on pattas.
Sangma told the House that efforts are on to upgrade existing police outposts along the inter-state boundary to police stations to enhance sense of security among the inhabitants.
The state government had sent a proposal to the Centre seeking assistance for upgrading outposts to police stations not only in places along the inter-state boundary, but also in militant-infested areas.
“The department concerned has been asked to identify the areas of strategic importance along the inter-state boundary where police stations can be established,” Sangma said, adding that the response of the Centre to the proposal had been encouraging.
Although Assam had negated the idea of setting up of a boundary commission, Sangma said Meghalaya would continue to pursue with the Centre the need to set up the commission. He said the chief secretaries of the two states would meet soon to discuss the boundary imbroglio after their September 20 meeting had to be postponed.
Sangma also said development activities would be taken up along border villages and the state government had formulated the Special Inter-State Border Area Development Programme. “We want to initiate development programmes in those areas so that people out there can develop a sense of belonging to our state,” he said.
Sangma assured the House that the long-pending boundary imbroglio would be mutually and amicably settled between the two sides.
There are at least 12 areas of difference. These include Langpih, Upper Tarabari, Gizang reserve forest, Hahim, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah-Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah, blocks I and II, Khanduli-Psiar and Ratacherra. They cover an area of 2,700 square km. In the areas of difference, both states have agreed on maintaining status quo.