GUWAHATI, June 22 � �Third party mediation is the best way to resolve the long standing border dispute between Assam and Nagaland,� Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told Supreme Court-appointed mediators on Assam-Nagaland border issue Sriram Panchu, Senior Advocate of Chennai High Court, and Niranjan Bhatt, Senior Advocate of Gujarat High Court when they called on him at his office here today. This was stated in a press release issued by Janasanyog.
Gogoi said his government wants the settlement of the border row with Nagaland once and for all taking into confident the people of the State. �We have approached the Supreme Court so that the border row is resolved once and for all. The apex court verdict will be binding upon one and all,� he said.
Lauding the relentless endeavour of the mediators, Gogoi said that steps being initiated to elicit views and opinions of cross section of people on both sides of the border would go a long way in arriving at a broad consensus on resolving the border dispute.
The Chief Minister agreed to the views of the mediators that status quo should be maintained till the border row is settled.
Gogoi pointed out that though there may be border dispute, people living on both sides of the inter-State border have been living peacefully. �There are occasional instances of disturbance along the inter-State border, but by and large the situation is normal,� he said.
The mediators, while apprising the Chief Minister about the developments being made in the last few days
following talks with intelligentsia, students� groups, civil societies and political parties in both the States, said the positive outcome that emerged is that �Everyone is in favour of permanent settlement of the long standing border dispute amicably�. �A positive climate is building up and it is time to move forward,� the mediators said urging the Chief Minister to take the border row with Nagaland to its logical conclusion through his political insight and vision.
The Chief Minister told the mediators in clear terms that the border row could be solved only through �accommodative attitude� and by taking the people into confidence. �We don�t have any problems at all with Nagaland or for that matter other neighbouring States. We have friendly relations with them. Disputes may be there, but the good thing is that there is no bitterness. And that is where we have to harp on to solve all issues amicably,� he added.
The mediators told the Chief Minister that what they felt on visiting the border areas was that the focus should be on development alone. �If a comprehensive development plan is put in place to take care of roads, health, education, et al, then much of the problem will automatically die down,� they pointed out.
Echoing their sentiments, the Chief Minister said that his government has given thrust to the development of border and backward areas of the State and has taken up the matter with the Central government time and again.
The mediators opined that more people-to- people contact should be established to build bridges of understanding and thus to further strengthen the ties.
The discussion, which lasted for about an hour, was attended, among others, by Aparna Vasu and Priyadarshini Vakil, assistant mediators.