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Govt admits encroachment by Meghalaya in border areas

By STAFF REPORTER
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GUWAHATI, March 15 - Alleging the State government�s inaction in protecting its borderland, Congress legislator Nandita Das today told the Assembly that three schools of Lampi area under Boko constituency were used by Meghalaya as polling centres during the just-concluded Meghalaya elections.

�Lower Lampi LP School, Khatapara LP School and Umtap UP School of Assam were used by the Meghalaya authorities as polling stations on February 27 even as the administration and the police in Kamrup looked the other way despite getting complaints. A total of 650 votes were cast in these three polling centres. This is all the more shocking as the schools remain 9 km inside the Assam side of the Assam-Meghalaya border,� she said.

Das added that border areas such as Lampi had been neglected by governments over the years, emboldening the neighbouring states to utilize Assam�s territory for their official purposes and encouraging encroachment.

�With growing encroachment and official activities at Lampi, Meghalaya is now in a position to accord legitimacy to its illegal occupation of Assam�s land. The Assam government should wake up to the grim reality and intervene immediately and decisively,� she said.

Das said the Lampi area on the city outskirts had immense tourism potential with its scenic beauty and cool temperatures even during the summer, but nothing had been done to tap that.

In his reply on behalf of the Chief Minister, Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta, while admitting that the areas of Umtap, Khatapara and Lower Lampi had been under encroachment, said that as per an official report following the Meghalaya polls, the polling centre venues were shifted by the Meghalaya authorities from the schools in question.

�I cannot say whether the report is right or wrong. We will have another inquiry conducted by the Kamrup deputy commissioner to ascertain whether Meghalaya used our schools as voting centres and the status of the encroachment in those areas,� he said.

The minister added that following meetings between the DCs of Kamrup and West Khasi Hills districts, it was agreed to maintain status quo in the areas having boundary disputes. He also accused the previous Congress government of remaining indifferent to the problem of aggressive encroachment by neighbouring states.

AGP legislator Ramendra Narayan Kalita called for entrusting an EAC with full charge of border affairs in different border areas in view of the fact that the DCs were too overburdened with responsibilities to look after border matters.

Abdul Khaleque of the Congress suggested that Assam should adopt an aggressive stance vis-�-vis border protection rather than remaining passive to the widespread incidents of border area encroachment by neighbouring states.

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Govt admits encroachment by Meghalaya in border areas

GUWAHATI, March 15 - Alleging the State government�s inaction in protecting its borderland, Congress legislator Nandita Das today told the Assembly that three schools of Lampi area under Boko constituency were used by Meghalaya as polling centres during the just-concluded Meghalaya elections.

�Lower Lampi LP School, Khatapara LP School and Umtap UP School of Assam were used by the Meghalaya authorities as polling stations on February 27 even as the administration and the police in Kamrup looked the other way despite getting complaints. A total of 650 votes were cast in these three polling centres. This is all the more shocking as the schools remain 9 km inside the Assam side of the Assam-Meghalaya border,� she said.

Das added that border areas such as Lampi had been neglected by governments over the years, emboldening the neighbouring states to utilize Assam�s territory for their official purposes and encouraging encroachment.

�With growing encroachment and official activities at Lampi, Meghalaya is now in a position to accord legitimacy to its illegal occupation of Assam�s land. The Assam government should wake up to the grim reality and intervene immediately and decisively,� she said.

Das said the Lampi area on the city outskirts had immense tourism potential with its scenic beauty and cool temperatures even during the summer, but nothing had been done to tap that.

In his reply on behalf of the Chief Minister, Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta, while admitting that the areas of Umtap, Khatapara and Lower Lampi had been under encroachment, said that as per an official report following the Meghalaya polls, the polling centre venues were shifted by the Meghalaya authorities from the schools in question.

�I cannot say whether the report is right or wrong. We will have another inquiry conducted by the Kamrup deputy commissioner to ascertain whether Meghalaya used our schools as voting centres and the status of the encroachment in those areas,� he said.

The minister added that following meetings between the DCs of Kamrup and West Khasi Hills districts, it was agreed to maintain status quo in the areas having boundary disputes. He also accused the previous Congress government of remaining indifferent to the problem of aggressive encroachment by neighbouring states.

AGP legislator Ramendra Narayan Kalita called for entrusting an EAC with full charge of border affairs in different border areas in view of the fact that the DCs were too overburdened with responsibilities to look after border matters.

Abdul Khaleque of the Congress suggested that Assam should adopt an aggressive stance vis-�-vis border protection rather than remaining passive to the widespread incidents of border area encroachment by neighbouring states.

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