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Meghalaya cabinet decides to set up 7 more outposts along Assam border: Conrad Sangma

Shillong: The Meghalaya government has decided to set up border outposts (BOPs) in seven sensitive areas identified along the state’s border with Assam, chief minister Conrad K Sangma said on Tuesday.

“We have sanctioned and approved seven BOPs in sensitive areas and upgradation of police outposts in Patharkhmah and Kyrshai in Ri Bhoi and West Khasi Hills districts,” Sangma said after the meeting of the state cabinet on Tuesday.

The seven BOPs are located in Muriap in East Jaintia Hills, Mukroh and Tiwieh in West Jaintia Hills, Rani (Jirang) in Ri Bhoi and Umwali, Lejadubi and Langpih in West Khasi Hills.

The cabinet decision comes a week after six people – five Khasi villagers from Meghalaya and one Assam forest guard – died in a firing incident on the Assam-Meghalaya border on November 22. While the Meghalaya government said the violence occurred at Mukroh village in the state’s West Jaintia Hills and was the outcome of “unprovoked” firing, its Assam counterpart said the incident took place in the state’s West Karbi Anglong district when forest personnel opened fire to save their lives from miscreants smuggling timber.

It will annually cost about 2 crore to operate each of the seven border outposts. The upgradation of the two outposts will cost about 3-4 crore. “We are looking at this decision leading to an impact of about 17-18 crore,” Conrad added.

Sangma said the government will also come up with a second list of BOPs after a more detailed study is conducted in the Ri Bhoi area. “We have asked the DGP (director general of police) to make a visit to those areas and come back with a proposal, especially in areas of difference in Block-II area which mainly falls under Ri Bhoi district,” he said.

Sangma said the BOPs will be located in areas where there are no differences on the border. non-areas of difference. These are areas which are going to be very much in locations which already are having police presence and that it is like an upgradation in one way.

For instance, Assam already has a BOP across Langpih in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills but Meghalaya has an anti-dacoity camp on its side. This camp will be upgraded into a BOP and will facilitate communication between the police of the two states.

“These measures are required to bring back a sense of normalcy and make people confident and safe in their own villages,” he said.

Asked about the demand to create a separate Indian Police Service (IPS) cadre for the state, Sangma said that the state government will continue to take it up with the central government.

“I have mentioned many times to the home ministry and I have also mentioned this to the Prime Minister and they inform me that they are looking into the matter but we have not able to yet get it done. We will continue to pressurise the government of India that it is in the larger and in the long term interest of both the states that we have our separate cadres,” he said.

Assam and Meghalaya currently have a common cadre of IPS and Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers.

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