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Joint team visits NE border
- Manipur and central officials inspect disputed areas

Imphal, Dec. 7: A joint team of Manipur’s political parties and central officials today made a spot verification of disputed areas along the Manipur-Myanmar boder at Moreh in Chandel district.

The central team, comprising officials of the home ministry, surveyor-general of India office, Border Roads Organisation and Assam Rifles, was led by joint secretary home Shambhu Singh.

Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam led the Manipur team.

Officials of the state home department also accompanied the team, which inspected the border fence constructed at Moreh by the Assam Rifles and visited disputed sites in the border town.

Official sources here said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent the central team after a political delegation led by chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh met him and home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde separately in New Delhi earlier this week on the border issue.

The delegation sought an immediate Indo-Myanmar joint survey for demarcation and construction of the border fence according to international norms.

The Assam Rifles had planned to construct a 10-km fence. However, the construction was suspended four months ago after public uproar alleging that a vast tract of Manipur’s land was left beyond the border.

The public outrage was fuelled by a recent attempt by Myanmar army to set up a base at Hollenphai, a Kuki village, about 3km southwest of Moreh.

The team today visited Hollenphai and Govajang village, near the border town, which has been divided by the fence. After spot verification, the central team will submit a report to the home ministry on a course of action, the sources said.

The Manipur delegation urged the team to take up the border issue with Myanmar and to initiate a joint survey without delay.

Talking to reporters, Shambhu Singh said the matter would be taken up at the diplomatic level for an amicable settlement. “Myanmar is a friendly country and we need to understand the ground reality together for a joint effort to resolve the problem,” he said.

Gaikhangam expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the verification process.

Sources said a team from the Myanmar army also inspected construction near border gate one today.