Shillong, Aug 13 (IANS): Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has asked Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to expedite the constitution of a boundary commission to "re-examine and re-define" the inter-state boundary between Meghalaya and Assam.
"I have urged the home minister to constitute the boundary commission on priority so that a lasting solution to this long pending problem is found," Sangma, who met Shinde in New Delhi Sunday evening, said Monday.
The four decade old boundary dispute between Meghalaya and Assam has witnessed a spate of unrests in recent past. The Meghalaya assembly had adopted a resolution March 16 last year urging the union government to constitute a commission to re-examine and redefine the inter-state boundary between Meghalaya and Assam.
Meghalaya has 12 areas of difference on the boundary with Assam. However, Assam assembly unanimously passed a resolution opposing the constitution of such a commission.
Sangma, who also handed over a letter to Shinde on the inter-state boundary dispute, said that there have been serious differences between Assam and Meghalaya on the matter of inter-state boundary ever since the state of Meghalaya came into existence.
"This has caused immense hardship to the people living along the border and has also led to violent incidents at times," Sangma said.
Sangma said that he had informed the home minister on various efforts initiated by his government to find an amicable solution to this vexed issue but without any tangible outcome.
In fact, civil society groups, including politicians under the banner of 'people's movement', had threatened to intensify agitation if the Meghalaya government failed to find a solution to the boundary row.
"If the (Meghalaya) government fails to comply with our demands on the boundary row besides ensuring safety and security to the Khasi-Pnar people (residing in the border areas with Assam), the 'people's movement' will have no option but to launch an agitation," its chairman, Ardent M. Basaiawmoit, said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had told IANS that his government wants to settle the boundary row with Meghalaya.
"We want to settle the issue (boundary row) with all our neighbouring states. We want to live peacefully as good neighbours not only with Meghalaya but with all our neighbouring states," Gogoi said last week.
Meghalaya became an autonomous state in 1971 and a full-fledged state Jan 21, 1972. Since then, the inter-state boundary as defined under the North Eastern Areas (Re-Organisation) Act, 1971, has been a point of difference between Meghalaya and Assam.