Assam is committed to resolve the border disputes with its four neighbouring states to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a united North East, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday.
Assam has disputes with Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland and ”we have already taken significant steps with the first two states in resolving the issues”, Sarma said at a press conference here.
”The signing of the Namsai Declaration with Arunachal Pradesh on Friday is a historical step and we have already brought down the number of disputed villages from 123 to 86”, he said.
Chief ministers of the two North-eastern neighbours on Friday met at Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh and signed the agreement to resolve border issues.
The two states were fighting for over 15 years in the Supreme Court on the border dispute and when ”we got down to resolve the issues, it was found that 28 (contested) villages are not within Assam since the beginning but were 15 to 20 kilometres inside the constitutional boundary of Arunachal Pradesh”.
Besides, our officials could not find the location or existence of six villages and though efforts were made to trace even their Assamese names, they could not be found and as such Assam has no claims over these villages, he said.
Arunachal Pradesh has also claimed that three villages do not belong to them and as such the number of disputed villages has been restricted to 86, the Assam chief minister said. “That too, I believe, if I go for field investigation a lot of dispute over a lot of villages will be resolved,” he added.
“After Meghalaya, I believe yesterday was a historic day in terms of the step towards resolving Arunachal-Assam land dispute,” said Sarma.
Referring to Nagaland, the chief minister said that the issue will be resolved in the Supreme Court and till then ”both states are committed to jointly develop some areas along the border. Both states are also committed not to do anything that will harm the age-old friendship and unity”. Regarding Mizoram, he said Assam Border Affairs minister Atul Bora will soon visit the neighbouring state and ”we hope to begin talks soon”.
In wake of the worst flood in the state’s history, with death toll nearing 200 and over 90 lakhs people affected, an assistance of Rs 1,000 each to over one lakh student beneficiaries has been provided from the CM’s Relief Fund.
CM Sarma said, “In our humble efforts to provide relief to students affected during recent floods in the state, we have provided an assistance of ₹1,000 each to over 1 lakh student beneficiaries, from CM’s Relief Fund. It’s our sincere commitment to stand by the students during this tough time.”
He said that a total of 8.929 lakh people in 9,980 villages in 34 districts were affected by the floods and 25,670 houses were completely destroyed. In addition, 195 people have died in floods and landslides. 37 people are still missing.
There are 278,260 families in the list of partially damaged houses. The total number of flood victims in the state who took shelter in government and private institutions during two prolonged floods is 742,2 Boats, SDRF and NDRF forces rescued 98,500 people from rivers, floods and embankments
CM Sarma further stated that a total of 240,960 hectares of agricultural land and 54,837 livestock died in the floods There are still many people in shelters in the state although the situation is much better now.
Earlier, Rs 3,800 was sanctioned to each family already living in the relief camps and now Rs 1,000 each to 11,539 students who lost their books in the floods.
The CM officially handed over the funds from Janata Bhawan on Saturday. He also said that the government will visit the flood affected areas and assist the homeless and vulnerable people.
He further said the funds will be released from September 30 for the reconstruction of broken dams, roads and public institutions along with the damaged houses.