Arunachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Pema Khandu, assured on Wednesday that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) addressing the border dispute between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is advancing with genuine commitment. In response to a query raised by Congress member Wanglin Lowandong, CM Khandu conveyed that a preliminary survey would soon commence in areas where issues are unequivocally resolved.
Following extensive consultations with the Survey of India and his Assam counterpart, Kamengbari and Bhalukpong, situated in the West Kameng district, have been chosen as the locations for the initial survey, as per the chief minister’s announcement. Concurrently, regions and districts where certain matters remain unresolved are under scrutiny by their respective regional committees.
CM Khandu further shared that, out of the 123 villages recommended by the local commission, 115 are confirmed to remain under the jurisdiction of Arunachal Pradesh, while the remaining eight are situated in Assam. He elaborated, “Three villages within Lower Siang, one village in Lower Dibang Valley, and one village in the Pakke Kessang district have been transferred to Arunachal Pradesh in exchange for an equivalent land area ceded to Assam.”
Regarding the contested forested areas claimed by Assam, especially in the eastern part of the state, CM Khandu clarified that the government has not relinquished these territories. He emphasised that appropriate measures have been taken to adjust regions and villages in alignment with the recommendations of the local commission and the mutual consensus reached by regional committees in their respective districts.
Addressing the government’s stance on the 1951 recommendations put forth by the one-man Bordoloi Commission, which resulted in the transfer of over 3,000 square kilometers of land from erstwhile NEFA to Assam, the chief minister affirmed that since its inception, the state government has consistently opposed the unilateral notification of 1951.
On April 20 of this year, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh inked an agreement in New Delhi, in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, to resolve their longstanding border disputes.
Arunachal Pradesh, which attained the status of a Union territory in 1972, has maintained that numerous forested tracts in the plains historically belonged to hill tribal chiefs and communities, and these lands were unilaterally transferred to Assam in the past. The border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh spans 804.1 kilometers.
Following Arunachal Pradesh’s elevation to statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was established, recommending the transfer of specific territories from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh. Assam contested this decision, leading to protracted legal proceedings in the Supreme Court.