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Assam-Meghalaya Pact

Assam-Meghalaya Pact

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Recently, the Assam and Meghalaya governments signed an agreement to resolve their 50-year-old border dispute in six of the 12 locations.

The dispute

  • Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972 but the new state had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, leading to dispute in 12 locations in the border areas.
    • Apart from Meghalaya, Assam has boundary disputes with Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
    • All these States, two as Union Territories initially, were carved out of Assam between 1963 and 1972.
  • The two major points of contention are:
    • Meghalaya's Langpih district, bordering the Kamrup district of Assam, in West Garo Hills: Langpih was part of the Kamrup district during the British colonial period but after India's Independence in 1947, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya.
    • Mikir Hills: Meghalaya has questioned Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills, now Karbi Anglong region, being part of Assam. Meghalaya says these were parts of erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.
  • Last year, in a sharp escalation of the boundary dispute between Assam and Mizoram, at least five Assam Police personnel were killed in violent clashes at the border areas.

Resolution efforts made so far

  • Several attempts had been made in the past to resolve the boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya.
  • In 1985, an official committee to resolve the issue was constituted under the former Chief Justice of India Y V Chandrachud. However, a solution was not found.
  • Last year, both state governments identified six of the 12 areas under dispute — Hahim, Gizang, Tarabari, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilingkata, Ratacherra — for resolution in the first phase.
    • The recent agreement was based on the final set of recommendations made jointly by both states in January this year.
    • Officials said the next step will involve delineation and demarcation of the boundary by Survey of India in the presence of representatives of both governments.
    • It will then be put up in Parliament for approval.

Details of the final resolution

  • The 12 disputed areas lie in the under the Kamrup and Cachar districts of Assam and the West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts of Meghalaya.
  • The two States had in June 2021 adopted a “give-and-take” policy to start the process of resolving the boundary dispute by constituting three regional committees each.
  • The draft resolution, prepared on the basis of the recommendations of the regional panels, proposed dividing the disputed 36.79 sq. km land in the six areas of difference between the two States.
    • While Assam will get 18.51 sq. km of the disputed areas, Meghalaya will get the remaining 18.28 sq.km.
  • With the signing of the agreement 70% of the inter-State boundary has now become dispute-free.

 

Sources:

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