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Assam-Arunachal joint inspection deadline for disputed border areas

Announcement is made by minister Atul Bora soon after a meeting of 12 regional committees set up by state government
Atul Bora.
Atul Bora.
File photo

Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 13.08.22, 12:10 AM

Assam on Thursday worked out a time-frame to complete the joint inspection of the disputed border areas with Arunachal Pradesh, followed by the submission of reports to both chief ministers by September 15. 

The announcement was made by Assam minister for border protection and development Atul Bora soon after a meeting of the 12 regional committees set up by the state government to carry out the joint inspection and submit the reports for early resolution of the border row.

Bora tweeted after the meeting, “The ‘Namsai Declaration’ was signed on July 15 in presence of Hon’ble CMs of Assam & Arunachal Pradesh, Dr @himantabiswa& Shri @PemaKhanduBJP to resolve long-standing border issues. Today, we discussed preparations to complete joint visits by Aug 31 & submit report by Sep 15.”

Assam and Arunachal Pradesh had signed the “historic” Namsai Declaration, bringing down the number of disputed villages along the inter-state border to 86 from 123 as part of efforts to resolve the decade-old border row. 

The meeting in Namsai was the third involving both the chief ministers to resolve the border row.

An official statement on Thursday said the state government was “working closely” with the counterparts of neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh for “peaceful, holistic and early resolution of the border dispute”. To expedite the process of identification and early resolution of disputed areas, 12 regional committees have been constituted by both the states in accordance with the Namsai Declaration. 

The Assam Regional Committee on the border issue met in Guwahati on Thursday and after a detailed discussion decided that the “joint visits” by the regional committees to the areas identified as disputed will be “concluded” within August 31.

“Thereafter, the reports by the respective regional committees will be submitted to the chief ministers of both the states by September 15,” the official statement said, adding the disputed areas fall in eight districts of Assam and 12 districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Chaired by Bora, the meeting was also attended by cabinet ministers Ranoj Pegu, Ashok Singhal, Sanjoy Kishan and Bimal Bora, MLAs, deputy commissioners of the affected districts, among others.

The 12 regional committees will make recommendations to their respective state governments “keeping in view the historical perspective, administrative convenience, contiguity and people’s will to delineate interstate boundary between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh”.

Assam shares a 804-km inter-state border with Arunachal Pradesh since the latter became a Union Territory in 1972. Arunachal attained statehood in 1987.

The dispute is “attributed” to a 1951 report by the first chief minister of Assam Gopinath Bordoloi transferring about 3,648sqkm from Arunachal Pradesh (then known as the North East Frontier Agency) to Assam’s Lakhimpur and Darrang districts, something which was not accepted by the frontier state.   

Thursday’s meeting in Guwahati followed Bora’s “fruitful” discussion with Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga in Aizawl on Wednesday on resolving the border dispute, suggesting Assam’s push for an early resolution.

Bora was leading Assam delegation for the second round of ministerial-level talks with Mizoram. 

Both the states released a joint statement on Tuesday to “maintain peace” along its disputed border and also “take forward” the process of resolution by holding another high-level meeting in Guwahati in October where “issues and claims will be deliberated in details”.

On Tuesday, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma announced in Shillong that the second phase of talks to resolve the inter-state border issue with Assam will be held after August 15 as his government was “committed” to resolving the vexed issue.

In March, Assam and Meghalaya, which share an inter-state border of around 885 km, had signed a “similar” historic accord like the Namsai Declaration in presence of Amit Shah to resolve their border dispute in six of the 12 less complicated sectors after several rounds of talks and by adopting a give-and-take policy.

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