A senior officer in Assam who does not want to be named told ET, “The visit will be a two day. Bora will be accompanied by Assam Housing and Urban Minister Ashok Singhal and three officials, including Assam border protection and development commissioner and secretary GD Tripathy, Mizoram home department. In Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana will lead the team”.
Mizoram shares a 164.6-km long boundary with Assam, which has seen several flare-ups in the last few years.
After initiating talks with Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, Assam government is all set to start dialogue with Mizoram on the border dispute.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma recently said with Mizoram, Assam will open dialogue this year. Sarma had said Assam has border disputes with four states. “Clear strategy Assam and Meghalaya resolved six sites, four more sites can be resolved. We already have some kind of understanding that this can be resolved in this way. However, in Meghalaya there are two points: Lampi and block one and two in KarbiAnglong, which are tough areas.”
He added, “Ten disputes can be resolved, six already resolved. Survey of India is working; it will soon give us modified boundaries of both the states. Assam and Meghalaya we are proceeding in right earnest.”
He said that the Namsai Declaration was a big breakthrough. “At least we now know we can settle some disputes; our border minister Atul Bora will visit Mizoram soon. We are talking to the government of Mizoram on how we can resolve the dispute.
He said, “Both Assam and Nagaland have taken resolution that we resolve this in the Supreme court. But during this period we will jointly develop some sensitive areas so that people do not face problems of water and electricity and roads. There is a clear understanding between the two states that we will resolve this issue peacefully in the Supreme court and until then will not do anything which will harm the friendship. We are in constant touch with the Government of Nagaland and whenever there is a report of encroachment deputy commissioners talk and get it resolved.”
Sarma said, “With Arunachal and Meghalaya I am very hopeful, with Mizoram we will open dialogue this year. With Nagaland we have to resolve in the Supreme court till then we have to maintain friendship, unity and age old relationship.”
The chief minister said that with Arunachal Pradesh the process will become out of court settlement. “Once we are able to bring down the number of villages we will inform the court.”
Assam and Meghalaya in March this year inked an agreement to resolve disputes in six places and these places roughly account for 70 percent of border disputes between the two states.
The meeting of the two chief ministers at Namsai is the third on resolving the interstate boundary dispute between the two neighbors. The first meeting was held last January and the second followed in April.
During the first meeting on January 24, 2022, it was decided that all border issues between Assam and Arunachal will be confined to those raised before the Local Commission in 2007, the boundary line delineated and signed on the 29 Topo sheets by the High Powered Tripartite Committee as notified during 1980 would be taken as basis for realignment of boundary by both states and both states would constitute 12 Regional Committees each covering the 12 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and counterpart districts of Assam for joint verification of 123 villages to make recommendations to respective State Governments.
In line with the January agreement, subsequently both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh notified 12 Regional Committees. In today’s meeting both the CMs agreed in principle to restrict the number of disputed villages to 86 instead of 123. The Regional Committees will submit their first tranche of report before September 15, 2022. After the Regional Committees conclude their deliberations and agreement is reached between the two governments, the draft MoU will be referred to the Government of India for its approval.
Last year there were clashes along the Assam-Mizoram border which resulted in the death of seven people and injuries to several others. The Union Home Ministry had to intervene.