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Assam, Arunachal govts meet to resolve border dispute

The second round of regional committee-level talks to resolve the boundary dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh was held here on Monday to finalise the report to be submitted to the chief ministers of the two states.

The Assam government was represented by its Water Resources Minister Pijush Hazarika while Arunachal Pradesh was represented by its Environment and Forest Minister Mama Natung.

Hazarika told reporters that the report was based on the committee’s visit to the four disputed villages in Assam’s Bishwanath and Arunachal Pradesh’s Pakke Kessang district in September.

“We discussed the matter by taking into consideration the discussions and objections raised by the villagers during our visit,” he said.

Both sides discussed all the issues and agreed that the dispute must be resolved by mutual understanding and a policy of giving and take, Hazarika said.

The residents of Balicho, Dipik and Dikalmukh villages have expressed the desire to be part of Arunachal Pradesh while those of Pacho want to be a part of Assam. This has been included in the report.

As all four villages fall in forested areas, the committee decided that the matter must be referred to the Centre by the chief ministers of the two states, he said.

The chief ministers of both states are keen to resolve the dispute and ensure the development of the border areas so that the entire North East can develop according to the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu signed the Namsai Declaration on July 15 wherein they pledged to resolve the border dispute between the two states.

The two states had decided to restrict the ‘disputed villages’ to 86 instead of the previous 123 and to try to resolve the issues by September 15.

The two states share an 804.1 km-long border.

The grievance of Arunachal Pradesh 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 Pradesh achieved statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed which recommended that certain territories be transferred from Assam to it. Assam contested this and the matter is in the Supreme Court.

Pakke Kessang MLA Biyuram Waghe, deputy commissioner Tayek Padu, divisional forest officer V K Jawal were among those from Arunachal Prdesh who attended meeting, officials said in Itanagar.

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