Meghalaya stakes claim to villages

Govt waves document to prove point over 12 areas of difference with Assam

By Rining Lyngdoh in Shilong
  • Published 31.07.15

Shillong, July 30: The Meghalaya government has claimed that the villages within the 12 areas of differences with Assam had formed part of the Khasi states historically and as such, should now be a part of Meghalaya.

"These villages were tagged with revenue districts of Assam for administrative reasons without extinguishing rights/claims of the Khasi chiefs. Official communications of the British period bear out the above stated fact," said a documentation prepared by the Meghalaya government on issues related to inter-state boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam.

The documentation said delimitation notifications, issued for the erstwhile Khasi and Jaiñtia Autonomous Districts Council (K&JADC) during 1952, 1966 and 1972, had indicated that a large number of villages located within the areas of differences were part of the then United Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills Districts and therefore, should now form a part of Meghalaya.

"Delimitation notifications in respect of Legislative Assembly constituencies reflect a similar position. Census records also show these villages fall within Meghalaya," the documentation said.

The 12 areas of difference with Assam, presented by Meghalaya in the documentation, 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 of difference is 2,765.14 square km, of which, Blocks I and II cover 1,583.42 square km. On Blocks I and II, the documentation said, tagging "Block I and II" with Mikir Hills was resented by the people, adding that, the meeting between the chief ministers of Meghalaya and Assam in 1971 had taken a view that comparative population of Karbis and Jaiñtia be accepted as guiding principle in deciding the issue.

Pointing out that the difference over inter-state boundary had been there since the creation of Meghalaya as a separate state in 1972, the document also recalled that such differences over the inter-district boundary occurred even during the British rule.

The documentation acknowledged that the long-pending issue causes immense hardship, economic dislocation and breakdown of law and order situation in the affected areas. A meeting between the chief ministers of Meghalaya and Assam held on June 5, 2010, at Dispur after the May 14, 2010 firing at Langpih (Lampi in Assam). At the meeting, it was agreed that both the states should find an amicable solution to the inter-state boundary problem.

It was also decided that both the states should present documents in support of their claims. Preparation of the documentation by Meghalaya was a time-taking exercise as the revenue department prepared documents/justification for each sector, along with maps based on supporting documents available with regard to Constitutional provisions, relevant notifications and maps as well as historical, ethnic and linguistic linkages.

After completing the exercise, the documentation was presented before the Meghalaya cabinet on November 24, 2010, and it was duly approved. During the joint committee meeting between the chief secretary of Assam and Meghalaya, held at Dispur on August 9, 2011, then Meghalaya chief secretary W.M.S Pariat handed over sector-wise documents/justification/maps to the Assam chief secretary.

The Assam government, however, on September 2, 2011, wrote to Meghalaya informing it that it was examining the documents it had received and would take some time to complete its preliminary scrutiny.

Later, the Meghalaya government also submitted the toposheet maps and list of villages for areas it claimed as wanted by Assam. Surprisingly, till date, the Assam government has not submitted any document to Meghalaya on the issue.

Today, Meghalaya chief secretary P.B.O. Warjri and his Assam counterpart, Vinod Kumar Pipersenia, held a meeting here in the presence of other officers but did not touch on the inter-state boundary issue.

"It was a meeting of the joint cadre authority (JCA) of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre. The meeting discussed the matter related to management of the cadres (IAS, IPS and IFS) of the two states," Warjri said. Asked about the next round of chief secretary-level talks on boundary issue, Warjri said no date had been fixed for a meeting between the two chief secretaries.