With the Mizoram government refusing to pull back its armed forces from the border areas claimed by Assam, the blockade on National Highway 306 – the lifeline of Mizoram – entered the fourth day on Saturday, prompting the BJP’s go-to man for the northeast, Assam cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, to speak of a “larger solution” but after state polls.
Mr Sarma, the convener of the BJP-led Northeast Democratic Alliance or the NEDA – the joint political with regional political parties in the northeast, on Saturday said that solving the border disputes of Assam with other northeastern states is a top priority for the BJP and the central government will fast-track it after Assam elections, due in less than six months.
“After Assam election, you will see an active dialogue between all north-eastern states. Home Minister Amit Shah has told all states already and he has done his homework on this, that immediately after Assam election, home ministry’s agenda would be to resolve the border disputes across the northeast, priority will be given to this,” Mr Sarma said.
“We don’t want to initiate a dialogue process across northeast immediately since the Assam government will be there only about three-four months and so it’s better that the dialogue should start with the new government. Already some groundwork is being done by the Home Ministry for a larger solution,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Mizoram government has started ferrying fuel and cooking gas from neighbouring Manipur and Tripura, as the deadlock on the border with Assam continued since Wednesday despite a series of top-level meetings, officials said on Saturday.
“As we all know, our accepted border boundary is of 1875 only which is unanimously accepted by all political parties and all NGOs. Assam officials instigated the public to block the highway which is the main entry point for our daily essential needs. This will cause some hardships to the people. While we are much troubled by COVID-19 pandemic, it is most unfortunate we have this border issue instigated by some Assam officials,” Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana said.
On Saturday, while talks between Deputy Commissioners of Karimganj in Assam and Mammit of Mizoram failed to reach a solution, the talks between Deputy Commissioners of Cachar district of Assam and Kolashib district in Mizoram could not take place.
Sources added that locals in Mizoram did not allow the Kolashib official to come for the meeting.
Two trucks sent to Manipur to bring cooking gas cylinders and five more oil tankers are being sent to the state, Mizoram government sources added.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla also held his second meeting through video conference with the Chief Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram, urging both Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna and his Mizoram counterpart Lalnunmawia Chuaungo to take steps to withdraw forces from the inter-state border.