New Delhi: Assam and Meghalaya signed Tuesday an agreement to resolve their five-decade-old border dispute in six of the 12 locations. Union Home Minister Amit Shah termed the development a ‘historic day’ for the Northeast. The agreement was signed in the presence of Shah and Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya Himanta Biswa Sarma and Conrad Sangma respectively. The pact will resolve the protracted dispute in six of the 12 places along the 884.9 km border between Assam and Meghalaya.
“It is a historic day for the Northeast,” Shah said at the function held at the Ministry of Home Affairs here. The Home Minister said with the signing of the agreement, 70 per cent of the border dispute between the two states has been resolved.
There are 36 villages in the six places, covering an area of 36.79 sq km, with regard to which the agreement has been reached, officials said.
Both Assam and Meghalaya had formed three committees each in August last year to go into the vexed boundary question. The constitution of the panels had followed two rounds of talks between Sarma and Sangma where the neighbouring states resolved to settle the dispute in a phased manner.
According to the joint final set of recommendations made by the committees, out of 36.79 sq km disputed area taken up for settlement in the first phase, Assam will get full control of 18.51 sq km and Meghalaya 18.28 sq km.
Out of the 12 points of dispute between Assam and Meghalaya, the six areas with relatively less critical differences were taken up in the first phase.
The boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya has lingered for 50 years. However, the effort to resolve it gained pace in recent times.
Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 but the new state had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, leading to dispute in 12 locations in the border areas.