Shillong, Jul 13: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Friday said that his government wants to settle the boundary row with Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
“We want to settle the issue (boundary row) with all our neighbouring states. We want to live peacefully as good neighbours not only with Meghalaya but with all our neighbouring states,” Gogoi said on his maiden visit to the Indian Institute of Management-Shillong.
Gogoi, who inaugurated the 50-kilowatt solar power plant at the B-school, was greeted with black flags and anti-Assam government slogans as part of a protest by the influential Khasi Students Union. It was protesting Assam’s alleged encroachment on Meghalaya lands.
The People’s Movement – an organisation comprising of various social organisations and political leaders – which is demanding an early solution to the boundary row, called a one-day office shutdown Friday, paralysing all government offices and financial institutions in the eastern part of Meghalaya.
Assam has boundary disputes not only with Meghalaya, but with other neighbouring states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh stretching over decades.
The boundary row between Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh is still pending in the Supreme Court.
“Nobody knows how long it will take to resolve these issues but our relationship should not be strained due to this. We must live peacefully and we should maintain our good ties,” Gogoi said.
With regard to the three-decade old boundary dispute with Meghalaya, the Assam Chief Minister, however, favoured settling it mutually between the two states.
“We should first settle the issue on our own. If the need arises, we may involve the Supreme Court to settle the issue like we are doing with Nagaland,” Gogoi said.
In fact, the Meghalaya assembly had adopted a resolution March 16 last year, urging the union government to constitute a commission to re-examine and redefine the inter-state boundary between Meghalaya and Assam.
However, the Assam assembly unanimously passed a resolution opposing such a commission.
Meghalaya became an autonomous state in 1971 and a full-fledged state Jan 21, 1972. Since then, the inter-state boundary as defined under the North Eastern Areas (Re-Organisation) Act, 1971, has been a point of difference between Meghalaya and Assam.