Meghalaya : NPP-led MDA Govt to form all-party panel

In response to various political parties’ requests, the NPP-led MDA Government has decided to form an all-party committee on the interstate border issue, which would include all stakeholders.

“We will constitute an all-party committee and will take everyone on board as it is a matter of state interest,” NPP State President and Rajya Sabha member, WR Kharlukhi said on Sunday.

Several political parties have backed Ampareen Lyngdoh’s idea, which was initially proposed by a Congress lawmaker.

Ampareen, who was campaigning for an all-party committee, said that without all-party representation, it is doubtful that the chief minister will push forward the arguments on behalf of Meghalaya alone, and that it is critical that the perspectives of all political parties be taken into account.

Kharlukhi stated that things have begun to improve in terms of resolving the boundary conflict. He said, “We will involve all the stakeholders and discuss the way forward unitedly.”

He also stated emphatically that if the border problem is not handled this time, it may never be resolved.  “The Assam CM and our CM are showing keen interest to resolve the issue and things have started rolling in the right direction,” he added.

He further stated that both chief ministers have moved beyond the traditional status quo and are working toward a real solution.  “It is now upto us all the stakeholders and if we cannot solve it now our people in the border areas will continue to suffer perpetually,” he observed.

On the “give and take policy” suggested by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Kharlukhi said, “Give and take is something he has suggested but it will be discussed. It also shows that he is very keen on a solution as much as we are.”

“The issue has been lingering for a long time and we are nearing 50 years of statehood. Amid this renewed keenness to resolve the issue we should make the most of it to get to an amicable solution,” he added.

Meanwhile, the United Democratic Party (UDP) stated on Sunday that the border conflict must be addressed “no matter what it takes.”

“We have to solve it whatever it takes, even ‘give and take’. However, there has to be mutual respect and understanding on the basis of justification put forth by both sides,” UDP general secretary Jemino Mawthoh said.

He remembered that much had been done and said in different meetings between chief ministers and chief secretaries, and that a resolution was also passed to encourage the Centre to create a border panel, but that the ball had been thrown in the court of the states.

“This time around the direction has come from the Centre. The present dispensation needs to resolve it once and for all before the 75th Independence Day celebration,” he observed.

He stated that in order to address this vexing problem that has been festering for almost 48 years, sufficient explanation of the claims of the two states is required so that an acceptable solution may be reached.

“It cannot be just give and take. It has to be on the basis of facts and figures. Let the spirit of civility between leaders of the two states prevail for the interest of the people of the two states especially those residing in the disputed areas,” he said.

Stating that recurrence of tension and skirmishes is unwanted as it can trigger something unfortunate and bigger, Mawthoh said, “We have to move forward as we are nearing our 50th Statehood Day celebration. We have to propel the state forward and think about the next fifty years.”

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