Hek addresses border issue with Assam CM
SHILLONG, June 26: Health Minister and BJP lawmaker Alexander Laloo Hek appears to have stolen a march on Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma by attacking the interstate border with Assam.
Hek on Saturday called Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati and asked him to resume talks at the CM level to resolve the border dispute as soon as possible.
Since coming to power in 2018, the MDA government led by the National People’s Party has not had CM-level talks with its Assam counterpart despite frequent border skirmishes.
A plan to hold a meeting has been postponed due to the Assembly elections in Assam, although the Meghalaya government has made it clear that it will hold talks with the new dispensation after the elections.
There has been no indication of such talks since Himanta Biswa Sarma’s government took office on May 10.
The last CM-level meeting between the two states took place in 2017-18 when Mukul Sangma and Sarbananda Sonowal were in charge of Meghalaya and Assam.
The government of Assam had started a few months ago the construction of an Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) transit camp in Khanapara on land under the jurisdiction of the Syiem (traditional chief) of Raid Marwet, district by Ri-Bhoi.
Once the case came to light, the Ri-Bhoi district administration wrote to its counterpart in Kamrup (metropolitan) to stop construction. It is not known whether Assam heeded the letter.
Earlier this year, MPs representing constituencies along the interstate border expressed concern over the ASTC construction site and the regular skirmishes along the contested sections of the border with Assam.
According to the government of Meghalaya, the government of Assam prevented the implementation of four development projects by the Meghalaya along the border from 2018 to February of this year. The government of Meghalaya halted 16 projects by Assam.