Guwahati, Aug. 21: Assam and Nagaland today agreed to work out a joint mechanism to prevent any recurrence of violence along the disputed border between the two states.
This was decided at a meeting between Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and his Nagaland counterpart T.R. Zeliang at Assam Administrative Staff College here, in the presence of Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju.
“Both sides have agreed that a joint mechanism will be worked out under which senior officials of both the governments will meet at regular intervals to remove misunderstandings to avoid a flare-up,” Rijiju said.
He said the misunderstanding at the local level between the people living on either side of the inter-state border has led to the latest spate of violence. Rijiju said the Centre would consider the state governments’ requests for deployment of additional central security forces in the disputed belt.
Assuring all necessary support from the Centre, he said: “We will do whatever is required.”
He also stressed the need to resolve the long-pending Assam-Nagaland border dispute. “The dispute, which has a long history, is the primary cause of the violence and it needs to be resolved,” he said.
Both Assam and Nagaland have expressed their dissatisfaction with the role played by the CRPF deployed along the disputed border as a neutral force. They demanded that the CRPF should be more effective and, if required, should be vested with more powers.
Gogoi described the meeting as a “good beginning”.
“We have discussed how to bring back peace and normality and restore confidence among the panic-stricken people so that they can return to their homes which is our top priority at this moment,” he said.
Zeliang said the Nagaland government had constituted an inquiry committee to get to the bottom of the truth and identify those involved in the violence. The state government had apprehended 15 people who were allegedly involved in the incident, he said.
He said both sides are in constant touch with each other since the August 12 incident and talks are going on at political and administrative levels.
“We will continue our dialogue at all levels to resolve the long-pending border issues and contain the situation,” Zeliang said.
Earlier, speaking at the conference of chief ministers of northeastern states here today, Gogoi sought a special package from the Centre for development of inter-state border areas.
“One of the main problems in most of the inter-state border areas is lack of infrastructure such as roads, schools, health facilities and power supply among others,” he said.
“The problem of the ongoing inter-state boundary disputes is something that we have not been able to sort out. These should be settled on priority,” Gogoi said.
He said the DoNER ministry should pay greater attention to funding inter-state and regional projects, particularly those related to infrastructure development in the border areas.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki stressed on the need to increase better road connectivity in the state.
He also thanked the Centre for introducing the Naharlagun-New Delhi weekly express and Naharlagun- Guwahati daily inter-city Express train in the railway budget 2014-15.
Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh said the overall availability of funds with NEC has not been adequate to bring about coordinated and meaningful development in the region.
He urged that the administrative and financial procedure followed by the NEC needs to be reviewed. “The mechanism followed by DoNER in the sanction of projects needs overhauling,” he added.