Meghalaya-Assam border: District Councils to share information with district administrations before taking up developmental activities

Shillong Nov 22: The three District Councils – Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and Jaiñtia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) along with the District Administration of West Karbi Anglong district, Ri-Bhoi district and West Jaiñtia Hills have decided to share information on developmental projects proposed to be executed in areas along the inter-state boundary.
This decision was taken at joint meeting held at Nongpoh on Thursday which was attended by Dr Mansing Rongpi, the MLA of Baithalangso constituency in West Karbi Anglong constituency, and George B. Lyngdoh, the MLA of Umroi constituency in Ri-Bhoi District.

KAAC Executive Member in-charge Land and Revenue, Rupsing Teron, Deputy Commissioner of West Karbi Anglong district, Devajyoti Hazarika, SP of West Karbi Anglong Mrinal Talukdar and other officials attended the meeting.

From Meghalaya side, two Executive Members of the KHADC, Latiplang Kharkongor (in-charge Land) and James Sylliang (in-charge Elaka), Ri-Bhoi Deputy Commissioner, R.M. Kurbah, Superintendent of Police, Spill Thmar, Additional District Magistrate of West Jaiñtia Hills district, D.M. Wahlang and Superintendent of Police, Lakador Syiem and other officers of the KHADC and JHADC including legal advisers to the KHADC, Erwin Sutnga and Robertjune Kharjahrin.

However Dasakhiat Lamare, the MLA of Mawhati Assembly constituency bordering West Karbi Anglong and MDCs of the JHADC did not attend the meeting.

The joint meeting was held to sort misunderstanding between the two neighboring states especially when developmental activities are taken up in areas along the inter-state border.

Issues related to implementation of various developmental projects and the alleged involvement of Assam police in the demolition of structures built by Meghalaya in the border areas was discussed.

During the meeting, the officials were informed that the KAAC has mostly implemented various developmental projects in West Karbi Anglong district and the West Karbi Anglong district administration did not have information about their projects.

The meeting decided that the KAAC should share the information with the West Karbi Anglong district administration so that the same could be shared with the district administration of Ri-Bhoi and West Jaiñtia Hills district.

The KHADC and JHADC too should share the information about its projects to be taken up along the inter-state boundary with the West Jaiñtia Hills district administration and Ri-Bhoi district administration respectively so that the same information could be shared with the West Karbi Anglong district administration.

Talking to reporters, Umroi MLA George B. Lyngdoh said that the joint meeting decided that sharing of information on the implementation of schemes and projects in areas long the inter-state border should continue.

Lyngdoh said that because of this communication gap, the West Karbi Anglong district administration officials claimed that they did not have official information about the activities taken up by the KAAC along the inter-state boundary, especially when the district administration of Ri-Bhoi apprised the West Karbi Anglong district administration when some problems related to boundary dispute occurred along the inter-state border such as demolition of structures constructed by Meghalaya.

Kharkongor and Sylliang also shared the same views saying the joint meeting decided that development activities proposed to be taken up would not require taking permission, but only sharing of information by the district councils to their respective district administrations so that problem should not occur when such activities are taken up.

Baithalangso MLA, Dr Mansing Rongpi said that the joint meeting decided that problems that are there in the border areas should be sorted out, whereas boundary matter rested with the state.

“We have agreed upon to continue with the development process in the border areas because the border areas are the most underdeveloped areas. But the feeling of suspicion should be removed and roles played by non-state players have been causing havoc. Therefore states will play a more proactive role instead of reacting or fire fighting. We will take what requires solving these matters and we hope we can resolve in a most amicable way.

On the resolution passed by the KHADC to re-transfer Block-I and Block- II from Assam to Meghalaya, Rongpi said, “India that we have, and the state of Assam and Meghalaya that we have, they are all historical accidents. It is through such meetings that accidents of history can be corrected. But for that, we have to revisit the border commission and reports laid thereof. Right now, all these claims and counterclaims are always made by non-state players. The resolution of the KHADC will have to be ratified by the state of Meghalaya because border matters rest with the state not with district councils. All these areas, if claims are to be made, then the state of Meghalaya will increase and Assam will reduce. For that, Article 3 will have to be invoked, but that also does not rest with the state, but with the Centre.”

On Assam police having a hand in demolishing structures created by Meghalaya in the border areas including at Umru village where Assam has created a police outpost, but demolished structures erected by Meghalaya, the Baithalangso MLA said, “development should continue because border areas are the ones which are least developed whether in West Karbi Anglong, Ri-Bhoi or West Jaiñtia Hills districts. However acts of demolition are allegations and such allegations have to be investigated and laid back.”

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