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Meghalaya-Assam CMs to resume talks on border dispute

By Staff Correspondent

SHILLONG, May 16 - Chief Ministers of Meghalaya and Assam are slated to resume stalled talks over the disputed boundary between the two States after the Lok Sabha election results are declared.

Briefing the media after a Cabinet meeting here today, Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong said, the stalled talks over the boundary dispute is likely to be held in early June.

Periodic talks were held between the two States over the decades-old boundary dispute. Following talks between the two Chief Ministers, Chief Secretaries of the two States held bilateral talks a few years back to resolve the issue.

Meghalaya on its part has handed over maps and other documents to the Assam Government staking claim over the disputed area. Little development has taken place after handing over these documents to Assam by the Meghalaya Government.

�These documents are being studied by the Assam Government. So talks would resume sometime in June,� Tynsong said. Due to the differences at the border, there have been skirmishes at different areas. On several occasions the Meghalaya Government has taken up with its Assam counterpart about highhandedness of Assam police at these areas of dispute.

Recently, Assam police arrested a Meghalaya resident at Balakhowa village, Ri-Bhoi district following differences over building a PMGSY road in �Meghalaya�s territory.�

�The area belongs to Meghalaya, but the Syiem of Hima Nongspung has given the NOC to Assam PWD to construct the road leading to a skirmish in the area,� the Deputy CM said. Asked if neglect of the border villages is a failure of the Meghalaya Government, Tynsong avoided giving a direct reply and said any sort of development is good.

�We will not let developmental activities to stop. Moreover, PMGSY is a Central scheme and is not of the Assam Government,� he said, adding, the State Government has sanctioned Rs 2,000 crore for development of roads in the State during 2018-19.

Meanwhile, Tynsong informed that in this particular case where a Meghalaya resident was arrested by Assam police, the Chief Minister and the Home Minister took up the matter with the Assam Chief Minister to secure his release. �Earlier, there was a communication gap,� he added.

Attacking the Opposition Congress of acting irresponsibly on the sensitive boundary dispute, the Deputy CM said the erstwhile Congress Governments in Meghalaya and Assam did precious little over the years to resolve the festering boundary problem.

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