Talks on boundary row after May 23, Tynsong says PMGSY is not Assam Govt’s scheme

Shillong, May 16: Meghalaya and Assam will hold talks on the inter-state boundary issue after May 23, even as Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong slammed the opposition Congress for not solving the issue despite being in power in both the states for many years.

Tynsong while speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting said that after May 23, both the chief ministers of the two states will sit and discuss all issues.

“We do not want to see trouble again and again along the inter-state boundary,” he said.

On the incident at Balakhawa in Ri-Bhoi district along the Meghalaya-Assam boundary where the house of the secretary of Hima Nongspung, Michael Warjri was destroyed and subsequently arrested by Assam police, Tynsong termed the incident unfortunate while stating that Assam police should have consulted its counterpart before arresting anyone from within the jurisdiction of Meghalaya.

“Our chief minister and home minister had had a conversation with Assam chief minister, on this particular incident,” he said.

A report was sought from the Ri-Bhoi district deputy commissioner and superintendent of Police to be submitted to the chief minister and home minister.

Warjri had opposed the construction of a PMGSY road in the area by the Assam government. Warjri was released by Assam police on bail on Wednesday.

On construction of PMGSY road in the area by Assam, Tynsong who is also holding PWD (roads) portfolio said that the Assam government seeking permission from the Hima Nongspung to build the road there, clearly shown that the area falls within Meghalaya.

According to papers, Tynsong said, the Hima Nongspung had given a ‘no objection certificate’ to construct the PMGSY road.

“PMGSY is a central scheme and not a scheme of the Assam government. Therefore, whether built by Assam or Meghalaya, let the construction be completed for the benefit of people residing along the inter-state boundary,” he said.

Asked if the Meghalaya government has neglected the area, Tynsong however said that few projects have been sanctioned there.

Tynsong also said that it was already agreed by both the states not to disturb developmental activities in dispute area, but both sides have to inform each other if they want to take up projects.

On allegations of the opposition Congress that the present Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government is ‘insensitive’ towards the tensions along the inter-state border including the incident at Balakhawa, Tynsong said, the Congress has been in power both in Meghalaya and Assam for many years, but nothing has been done to solve this issue.

“Since 2003, when I first got elected, there was already a Congress government in Assam and Meghalaya. Why should they ask this question now? From our side, we do not want to throw stone irresponsibly at anyone. But after May 23 we will sit and discuss with our counterpart and discuss this pending issue,” Tynsong said.