Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit
Shillong, Sept. 13: The Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) today criticised the Assam government for accusing Meghalaya of encroaching into "Assam territory" in Langpih.
On Monday, Assam parliamentary affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, while replying to a query in the Assembly, accused Meghalaya of encroaching into Assam territory in Langpih along the West Khasi Hills-Kamrup border. He alleged that Meghalaya had constructed roads, schools, churches and houses in the area.
Patowary said the Assam government was aware that some areas in Langpih under Boko revenue circle of Kamrup were illegally occupied by Meghalaya.
However, the Assam government's stand drew criticism from the HSPDP today. "We strongly condemn the Assam government for blaming Meghalaya of encroachment in Langpih. It is unacceptable to say that Langpih is an integral part of Assam," HSPDP chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit said.
He also alleged that it was Assam which had encroached into Meghalaya territory. "It is shameful on the part of the Assam government to blame Meghalaya. We strongly urge the Meghalaya government to expedite a solution to the inter-state boundary problem with Assam as assured in the Assembly from time to time," he said.
For decades, Meghalaya and Assam have been unsuccessful in their attempts to settle the inter-state boundary dispute with at least 12 areas of difference.
The latest meeting between the two states to discuss the issue was held on April 1 in Guwahati where chief ministers Sarbananda Sonowal and Mukul Sangma held deliberations. During the meeting, both sides decided to take steps to amicably demarcate the areas of difference along the inter-state boundary to resolve the decades-long imbroglio. It also decided that the two states would demarcate the 12 disputed border areas and fix boundary pillars.
The 12 areas of difference include Upper Tarabari, Gizang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah-Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah, Khanduli-Psiar area, Ratacherra and blocks I and II. The total area is 2,765.14 square km, of which blocks I and II cover 1,583.42 square km. The chief ministers had also decided to ask chief secretaries of both states to discuss the contentious "areas of difference".
Prior to the April 1 meeting, the last chief ministerial-level dialogue was held on June 5, 2010. The then Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi held a discussion with Mukul following the death of four Khasi villagers in alleged firing by Assam police at Langpih on May 14, 2010.