Sarma launches Mission Lifestyle for Environment’ in Assam

Shillong, Mar 22 (PTI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said the second round of talks with Assam to resolve the inter-state boundary dispute in the six remaining areas of differences will begin in April or May.

He informed the state assembly that regional committees comprising ministers and MLAs for six areas in Ri-Bhoi, West Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills districts have also been appointed to take the talks forward.

The six disputed areas are in these three districts.

“After the (assembly) session is over, the talks will resume in April or May. Detailed consultations should take place at ground zero to try and understand all issues of the people,” the chief minister said in his reply to the Governor’s address.

He said all stakeholders such as the autonomous district councils and traditional heads will be consulted.

Assam and Meghalaya have identified 12 disputed areas along the 884.9-km-long interstate border. These two northeastern neighbours, which started the first round of discussions in July 2021, signed an MoU to resolve differences in six areas in March last year in New Delhi in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The remaining six disputed border areas between the two northeastern states are in Block-I in West Jaintia Hills district, Block-II in Ri-Bhoi and Langpih in West Khasi Hills.

According to the chief minister, the border talks were based on the claims made by the Meghalaya government through its report on 12 areas of difference submitted to Assam in 2011.

Sangma said while there is no perfect solution to the border issues, his government will try to find the best solution to resolve the long pending boundary dispute with Assam.

On the issue of drug menace, Sangma said the government has taken the matter very seriously, and in the past few years, 726 cases have been registered and over 1,000 people have been arrested.

The chief minister also informed the assembly that 1,701 cases have been registered against illegal transportation of coal and over 200 cases registered against illegal coal mining in Meghalaya.

He said 15 units for slicing, washing and grinding for lakadong’ turmeric run on solar power have been set up and are run by women’s self-help groups.

Sangma said the government has enhanced the amount of old age pension to Rs 9,000 from Rs 6,000.

He added that his government has also released Rs 80 crore for clearing the dues of the ASHA workers for 2018 2023 and 2013 2017 which shows that “we care for them as well”.

On the demand for the inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages into the 8th Schedule to the Constitution, the chief minister said an official resolution was already passed and he has been taking the matter up with the Centre.
Sangma said the government is establishing a state university which will be a permanent solution for the state to be exempted from the CUET. PTI