Guwahati, Thursday, June 10, 2010
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Meghalaya Govt slammed over fresh ‘encroachment’

 SHILLONG, June 9 – Meghalaya Government today came in line of Opposition NCP’s fire following reports of fresh encroachment by Assam, less than a week after the two States agreed to constitute a Chief Secretary-level panel to address the long-pending border dispute.

Citing reports that Assam was planning to set up a police outpost at the disputed Khatkasla area in Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, Opposition leader Conrad Sangma said, “Assam has broken the assurance given at the meeting between the two Chief Ministers last Saturday that status quo would be maintained.”

“It is an insult to the Meghalaya Chief Minister as well as the State of Meghalaya. It appears that the CM-level meeting had no significance. The government should come clear on the minutes of the meeting to instill confidence among the people,” Conrad told the Assembly, demanding a statement from the Chief Minister.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said he would make a statement in the floor tomorrow.

Reports said Assam was preparing to set up a border observation post at Khatkasla, and constructing a road to connect it with Psiar, another disputed tract.

Jaintia Hills police said they visited the area yesterday to find Assam Government personnel engaging JCB machines for earth-cutting.

“The intention of the Assam officials are not yet known,” they said.

Earlier, on Saturday, the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, during a meeting in Guwahati, had decided to constitute a Chief Secretary-level committee to resolve the vexed boundary dispute.

It was decided that the modalities would be prepared by the committee within 45 days, after which the CMs would meet again to carry forward the process.

Both the States had agreed to maintain status quo in the disputed areas and not allow any fresh settlement in these places. Any development work would be carried out by either government after intimation to the other, it was agreed upon in the meeting. – PTI

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