Dismissing his Assam counterpart’s claim, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday asserted in the assembly that Mukroh village on the disputed inter-state border, where a violent clash claimed six lives last year, is a part of the hill state.
He said residents of Mukroh are beneficiaries of various schemes of his government.
Mr Sangma’s statement comes weeks after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in the assembly that Mukroh is a part of his state.
“I have clearly stated that Mukroh is very much a part of Meghalaya. Facts and figures indicate that. Other statements may have been made but our stand is clear,” Mr Sangma told the assembly.
“Census code states that Mukroh is under the West Jaintia Hills district. Voting during the recent Meghalaya assembly polls took place in Mukroh as well. The village has 1,500 voters, two polling stations and is a part of Mokaiaw constituency,” he said, while replying to a supplementary question raised by Voice of the People’s Party MLA Adelbert Nongrum.
He said Mukroh has a village employment council with over 500 beneficiaries of MGNREGA.
The CM said the village has two fair price shops with over 2,200 beneficiaries and a school and health centre have been built by the Meghalaya government.
According to Mr Sangma, other central schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (Grameen) or PMAYG and Jal Jeevan have also been implemented in the village.
Six people – five from Mukroh and a forest guard from Assam – were killed in a clash that broke out along the disputed border on November 22 last year after a truck laden with “illegally felled timber” was allegedly intercepted by forest personnel from the neighbouring state.
Assam and Meghalaya share an 885-km-long border, of which disputes in six of the 12 areas of difference have been resolved with the signing of an MoU between the two states last year.
Earlier, VPP president Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit raised concerns about the security of the people living along the disputed inter-state boundary.
The CM said differences between the two states over the border has led to the building of tension on both sides.
“We have realised that communication and coordination with our counterparts are very important to avoid building up of tension,” he said, adding that SOPs have been approved to address the gaps.
Noting that the two governments were working towards resolving the dispute in the remaining six areas of difference, he said that once the border dispute is resolved, there will be no more tension.
Mr Sangma said that a probe by an inquiry commission is underway into the November 22 violence.
To another query by United Democratic Party MLA Nujorki Sungoh, under whose constituency Mukroh village falls, the CM said the demand for shifting the check-gate erected in the village by the Assam forest department is within the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry instituted to probe the violent clash.
The conflict area falls in a disputed border under Assam’s Kheroni forest range, with both states claiming the incident took place in their respective territory.
Later, taking part on a debate on the Governor’s address, Mukroh MLA Nujorki Sungoh alleged that the Assam government is strengthening its infrastructure at Mukroh village.
“Instead of removing the (Forest check gate at Mukroh), they are strengthening their infrastructure,” Sungoh said, demanding the state government to intervene and stop such activities.
He also urged the government to ensure all 36 villages under Block-I are transferred back to Meghalaya in the upcoming second phase of the border talks.
According to him, this is the long pending demand of the people living in these villages and said there are no developmental activities happening in the 36 villages due to the dispute.
Meanwhile, Sungoh expressed disappointment over the government’s failure to upgrade the Laskein block to a civil sub-division and said, “I am very sad that till now this is yet to see the light of day.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)