Boundary dispute: Assam suggests panels end visit by 31 Aug

GUWAHATI, 11 Aug: Assam on Thursday proposed that the regional committees formed by the governments of the state and Arunachal Pradesh to resolve differences along the interstate boundary should complete their joint inspection of the disputed areas by August end.

The committees will thereafter submit reports to their respective governments by 15 September, the Assam regional committee decided at a meeting here.

Assam cabinet minister Ashok Singhal, who was present at the meeting, said that the decisions will be communicated to the panel concerned in Arunachal.

“We want to complete the joint inspections by the end of this month and then submit our findings to the respective governments by 15 September. We will discuss this further with our counterparts of the neighbouring state and finalise the schedule,” he said.

The committees were formed following a discussion between Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal counterpart Pema Khandu on 15 July, which resulted in the signing of the ‘Namsai Declaration’.

The two Northeastern neighbours have also decided to restrict the number of ‘disputed villages’ to 86 instead of the previous 123, and try to resolve the rest of the issues by 15 September.

Thursday’s meeting of the regional committee was chaired by Assam’s Border Protection and Development Department Minister Atul Bora. Several other ministers and senior officials were also present.

The two states share an 804.1-km-long boundary. The grievance of Arunachal, which was made a union territory in 1972, is that several forested tracts in the plains that had traditionally belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities were unilaterally transferred to Assam.

After Arunachal achieved statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed, which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to Arunachal. Assam contested this and the matter is in the Supreme Court. (PTI)