SHILLONG, March 14 � The Meghalaya-Assam boundary dispute �isn�t an India-Pakistan issue,� and therefore both neighbouring States must continue to engage themselves in negotiations till a mutually acceptable solution is reached.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma pacifying hardliners, today said �Political rhetoric of individuals� cannot drive Government policies in inter-State boundary dispute between �Meghalaya and its neighbour Assam.� �We would engage with our counterpart in Assam till we arrive at an acceptable solution� Political rhetoric of individuals cannot drive Government policies,� Sangma said at the heated discussion on the subject both during Question hour and reply to the Governor�s address.
Sangma was reacting to NCP legislator James Sangma when he referred to Assam Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain�s reported statement in the Assam Assembly that not an inch would be acceded to Meghalaya.
James wondered loudly if any negotiations were possible with Assam on the issue when such rigid statements were being made and said Meghalaya too cannot be soft.
Rejecting that the Meghalaya Government was taking a soft stand on the issue, Sangma said, engaging in discussions and talks cannot be construed as being soft and certainly rhetorics does not help matters.
�Posturing didn�t help the issue for all these years and this problem can never be solved if all political parties don�t engage meaningfully,� he said.
Sangma reiterated his Government�s stand on the dispute, saying it would engage with the Assam Government irrespective of individual politicians� hardline view.
Chief Minister�s statement had a moderating affect on UDP legislator Paul Lyngdoh who on Monday said in the State Assembly that Assam Chief Minister must pay house rent or else vacate his official residence in Khanapara � an area claimed by Meghalaya.
On Assam�s reluctance to accept a Boundary Commission, Sangma said, views cannot be imposed, but certainly an alternative solution has to be worked out. �We have good enough dossiers now to support our claim over our land and we would carry these in our future negotiations with Assam,� he told the House.
He further informed that Assam Government has objected to development work in Langpih as they were not informed prior to the start of the work.