Shillong (Meghalaya) , Feb 25 : The chief ministers level talks to resolve the inter-state boundary issue between Meghalaya and Assam will be held after the Meghalaya Assembly’ s Budget session. The 10 – budget session will start on March 13 and conclude on March 23 next .
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma said that he expressed his concern with Assam chief minister, Sarbananda and shared concern on the long-pending boundary dispute between both the states.
“We expect to meet at the earliest after the Budget session, and the date will be fixed on both the CM’s availability ,” Sangma said.
He said that as of now that the situation at Umwali in Langpih area of West Khasi Hills district is under control and the discussion at the high level was made in view of the situation, and both forces have been asked to maintain restraint.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has termed the presence of the 11 Gorkha regiment at Umwali village during a heated inter – state flare up as a coincidence.
Denying reports that the 11 Gorkha Regiment had accompanied officials from Assam along with the CRPF and Assam police to Umwali to stake claim over the area, Conrad said, “There were some reports coming in that the army has come in. We clarified this information with the Director General of Police and Chief Secretary from Assam and we were told from their side that there was no such movement that has been ordered from their side so we were not able to come to a conclusion about this.”
According to him, on preliminary investigation and information collected by senior authorities of Assam and Meghalaya there was some mention about an operation at the army level which was completely independent of the situation that was there in Umwali area.
“Let me again assure that in any situation Assam has of now told us that there is no such movement and there is no such order that has been given from their side, but at a later stage we were informed that the army had their own independent movement that took place which has nothing to do with this particular incident and it just so happened that it was around the same area,” Conrad added.
Conrad also informed that he has been in touch with his counterpart in Assam Sarbananda Sonowal over the issue.
“I have spoken to Mr Sonowal for a couple of times. In the discussion I have informed him about different situations that took place and I mentioned again that the status quo should be maintained and also stressed on the point that it is important that the two of us meet,” the Chief Minister said.
He also informed that following the recent border skirmishes at Umwali area of Langpih in West Khasi Hills district the Meghalaya government has been in touch with its counterpart in Assam even as he said that the situation in the area now is under control.
“But of course there is tension because it is a sensitive issue but let me assure the people in the area as well as the state as a whole that the state government including myself and the home minister have been on this continuously for the past few days and watching and monitoring the situation almost on an hourly basis,” Conrad added.
Conrad also informed that on Sunday night after his return from Tura, Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui came to his residence and discussed the matter.
Conrad also informed that the Director General of Police of both Assam and Meghalaya have been asked to tell their forces to exercise restraint so that the situation does not escalate even as he said that there is enough manpower on the state’s side whenever required.
The last time a Chief Ministerial level meeting between the two states was held on April 1, 2017 when the then Meghalaya Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma met his Assam counterpart.
(With HP inputs)