AIZAWL, Jan 28: The Assam Rifles is likely to shift its base from the heart of State capital Aizawl to Zokhawsang next month.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga said the entire Assam Rifles battalion might shift to the new battalion headquarters at Zokhawsang, about 15 km from here.

“The relocation of the Assam Rifles from Aizawl has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now we have put pressure on the MHA to shift the battalion by the end of February this year,” said Zoramthanga, who is also the president of the Mizo National Front (MNF), during launch of a campaign for Aizawl the Municipal Corporation elections at Ramhlun South here today.

About 100 personnel of the paramilitary force have already moved to their new headquarters, Zoramthanga added.

An MNF press release quoted Zoramthanga as saying that the MNF Government is determined to relocate all security forces who have occupied civilian land in other places of Mizoram.

“I have discussed the matter with the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister,” Zoramthanga said.

In February, 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs directed the Assam Rifles to shift its battalion headquarters from Aizawl to Zokhawsang by May 31 that year.

The relocation of the Assam Rifles was one of the electoral promises made by the MNF in the run-up to the 2018 Assembly elections. It had also been one of the top priorities of the Laldenga-led Government in 1987.

An agreement to this effect was signed by the then Mizoram Chief Secretary Dengchhuana and Col Gursharan Singh of the Assam Rifles on May 31, 1988, said Deputy Chief Minister Tawnluia, who was the Land and Revenue Minister in the Laldenga Government.

An amount of Rs 92,59,156 was also paid as compensation to private landowners at Zokhawsang. The entire exercise was expected to be completed within three years, he said. However, the MNF Government was toppled on September 7, 1988, and Mizoram was put under President’s Rule, which impeded the shifting process.