Stepping up their attack on the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government over “surrendering” of tribal land to neighbouring Assam in the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) has asked Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to admit his “mistake” even as deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong ruled out any possibility of revisiting the MoU.
“Chief Minister has to tell the world that he has committed a mistake and has failed to protect the interest of our people and surrendered our land to Assam. Therefore, I want to join the fight to take it back and withdraw the MoU,” said Mukul.
Referring to the documentation along with revenue notifications and maps submitted to Assam by the then state government of Meghalaya in 2011, Mukul, who was the then Chief Minister, said the whole revenue record was to claim that these areas of difference are tribal lands and formed an integral part of Meghalaya.
He said that the six areas of difference (which has been resolved as per the MoU) were properly indicated in the maps but the Conrad K Sangma-led government divided about 36.79 sq km of land.
“Has he (Conrad) claimed these 36.79 sq kms? No, that is why we are saying that he has surrendered. This 36.79 sq km, which formed an integral part of our tribal land, belong to different Himas and Raids. Therefore, why has he not fought to get all 36.79 sq kms? Who has given the authority to give away 18.51 sq km (to Assam)?” he said.
Mukul said that the revenue records are not based on the notification of the government of Meghalaya but are the notifications (of 1896, 1911, 1912, 1915, 1966 and 1967) issued prior to the creation of the state of Meghalaya.
“The Chief Minister is trying to defend his mistake. Why doesn’t he admit it? Let him ask me which map I am referring to and I will show him. These notifications are there from before; Meghalaya was not even born at that time,” he added.
The Leader of Opposition further asserted the need to understand the complexity in respect to the land tenure system. In Meghalaya when you talk of land ownership, there are multiple stakeholders, he said.
Meanwhile, Tynsong, ruled out all possibilities of revisiting the border MoU. “We have already signed the MoU in front of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah. So, now the Survey of India will come and do the actual survey in presence of both the state governments,” the Deputy Chief Minister said. He, however, informed that the government is yet to receive any communication from the central mapping and surveying agency in this regard. “…but we have impressed them that they should start the job assigned to them,” he said.
Hitting out at Mukul for alleging that the MDA has divided 36.79 sq km of land with Assam, Tynsong said, “How can he say that? Whatever proposal is submitted to the government of Assam is based on that recommendation made by the previous government under Mukul’s leadership and we have only stuck to that.”
Notably, villagers of Meghalaya residing in the areas of difference have expressed their resentment over the MoU signed between the two states.