ITANAGAR: The decades-old boundary dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has been taken up in right earnest with both the state governments working to settle the issue amicably, the hilly state’s Home Minister Bamang Felix informed the Assembly on Tuesday. Responding to a question from senior Congress member Nabam Tuki, Felix said that the two state governments have convened preliminary discussions on the issue and have resolved to settle it amicably through mutually agreed-upon criteria. “The Arunachal Pradesh government had on July 15 last year appointed a high-powered ministerial committee which convened several meetings with various stakeholders. High-resolution satellite images have been procured and on-ground studies and verification are being done in 12 districts of the state which share boundary with Assam,” Felix said.
When Tuki, a former Chief Minister, pointed out that despite the issue being sub-judice with the Supreme Court, incidents of encroachment into Arunachal Pradesh’s territory from Assam are being regularly reported, Felix said that the state administration is aware of the situation and has initiated dialogue with the neighbouring state whenever such incidents have come to fore. Felix said that the boundary dispute was inherited from the North East Frontier Tracts (NEFT), as 12 districts of the state share a total of 716 km of boundary with Assam. “The Supreme Court appointed the Local Boundary Commission with a former judge as its chairman. In 2014, the commission submitted its findings and recommendations to the court. The state government as per the cabinet decision of March 3, 2015, agreed upon the recommendations. However, Assam did not accept those and filed a rejoinder to the original suit number 1 of 1989,” the home minister said.
He said that the apex court has decided that a regular trial will be taken up upon framing of issues. As of now, cross-examination of the Assam side has been completed. Affidavits of the witnesses of the Arunachal Pradesh side are also being filed before the apex court, Felix said. While appealing to all the members to put a concerted effort to resolve the long-standing issue, Felix added that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has directed both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to resolve the issue at the state level.