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Meghalaya Cabinet protests road blockade

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, July 28 - An emergency Cabinet meeting today protested the blockade of a �Meghalaya road� in Khanapara by authorities in Assam from this morning, which the Meghalaya Government has termed as a �provocation to disturb peace.�

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said after the emergency Cabinet meeting that the road blockade is nothing but an �irresponsible act by authorities in Assam to vitiate the peaceful environment.� �The blockade prevents the residents of Meghalaya to reach the National Highway 40,� Sangma stated.

The road in question is somewhere near the tri-junction in Khanapara and close to Koinadhara, the official residence of former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Meghalaya claims the road does not fall in the list of disputed areas.

Assam and Meghalaya has 12 areas of dispute for which a Chief Secretary-level talk is on to resolve the dispute. Meghalaya has stated the talks have not borne the desired results so far.

Sangma informed that the Deputy Commissioner of Ri-Bhoi district, Pooja Pandey is in touch with her Assam counterpart to resolve the issue.

�However, the standoff still continues and the blockade has not been lifted so far,� the CM said adding, the Meghalaya Government would engage with the Assam Government to lift the embargo.

It is not clear what led to the blockade and Sangma too could not throw light upon it. All that he could say is that the blockade was put in place from this morning.

�We are trying to find out why the blockade has been put into place in the first place. This road and the land do not fall under the list of disputed areas between Meghalaya and Assam,� Sangma reiterated.

He said, the Meghalaya Government has been trying to make all efforts to resolve the boundary dispute with Assam. All documents related to its claim over the disputed areas have been submitted to its counterpart in Assam. The response, however, from the Assam Government has been slow to take the talks forward, he added.

Our Staff Reporter adds: Meanwhile, official sources said in Guwahati that the main roads leading to Guwahati from Meghalaya were not blocked. Only a portion of the land belnging to the ASTC, which was encroached, has been blocked. However, sources said that the issue would be settled amicably.

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