Assam-Meghalaya Boundary Dispute Resolution:
- Assam and Meghalaya partially resolved a 50-year-old dispute along their 884.9 km boundary.
- According to the partial boundary deal, Assam will get 18.51 sq. km of the 36.79 sq. km disputed area while Meghalaya will get the remaining 18.28 sq. km.
Reason for dispute:
- Meghalaya, carved out of Assam as an autonomous State in 1970, became a full-fledged State in 1972.
- The creation of the new State was based on the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969, which the Meghalaya government refused to accept as it followed the recommendations of a 1951 committee to define the boundary of Meghalaya.
- On that panel’s recommendations, areas of the present-day East Jaintia Hills, Ri-Bhoi and West Khasi Hills districts of Meghalaya were transferred to the Karbi Anglong, Kamrup (metro) and Kamrup districts of Assam.
- Meghalaya contested these transfers after statehood, claiming that they belonged to its tribal chieftains.
- Assam said the Meghalaya government could neither provide documents nor archival materials to prove its claim over these areas.
- After claims and counter-claims, the dispute was narrowed down to 12 sectors on the basis of an official claim by Meghalaya in 2011.
How was it resolved:
- In January 2021, Home Minister urged all the north-eastern States to resolve their boundary disputes by August 15, 2022, when the country celebrates 75 years of Independence.
- In June 2021, the two States decided to resume talks at the CM level and adopt a “give-and-take” policy to settle the disputes once and for all.
- Of the 12 disputed sectors, six “less complicated” areas — Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilingkata and Ratacherra — were chosen for resolving in the first phase.
- Both States formed three regional committees, one each for a district affected by the disputed sectors.
- Followed five principles” for approaching the issue:
- These principles are historical facts of a disputed sector, ethnicity, and administrative convenience, willingness of people and contiguity of land preferably with natural boundaries such as rivers, streams and rocks.
- Residents in the other six disputed sectors feel the “give-and-take” template could spell disaster for them.
- The fear is more among non-tribal people who could end up living in a “tribal Meghalaya with no rights”
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