SHILLONG: Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma said that he would meet Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday evening to fix a date for the official border talks between the two neighbouring states.
The issue of the boundary dispute with Assam was discussed during the meeting of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), held ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state on July 24.
Sangma, who is the chairman of the MDA, said that he has decided to start the process of consultation with the stakeholders on the issue.
“I will be meeting the Assam CM tomorrow evening in Guwahati. The meeting is unofficial. We have been having unofficial discussions on this very important subject and tomorrow is a continuation of that. While we sit, we will also fix a date for an official meeting between the two governments,” Sangma told reporters on Friday.
There is a need to involve different social organisations, headmen and nokmas as the government will have to go across the board to ensure the inclusion of people who matter in the process, he said.
On raising the issue with Shah during his visit to the state, Sangma said, “We will also be discussing many developmental issues as the Union home minister is the chairman of the North Eastern Council (NEC). He is also very keen to discuss the afforestation and conservation works, especially in the Sohra area.”
He further said that all the chief ministers of the Northeast have been invited during Shah’s visit to discuss issues that are common to the region.
“Apart from that, obviously state-specific issues, including the Eighth Schedule and the Sixth Schedule amendment, will be discussed with the home minister,” he said.
Sangma said a lot of informal discussions on the boundary dispute issue are needed.
“I don’t want to show the cards right now but as I said a lot of homework has gone into how we plan to move forward on this. At this point in time, it will not be proper to discuss those details but as I said, we are focusing on the fact that whatever solution we come up with must be amicable and must be a solution that is going to be acceptable to the people of both the states,” he said.
Regarding the suggestion for setting up a boundary commission, Sangma said the issue will also be discussed.
“This will require not just a commission — if you say a commission to look into the facts and figures, but it is a lot to do with the political will also — so we have to really see it from all angles. We could look into that suggestion but nothing has been decided yet,” he added.