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Inter-state border disputes in NE, Mizoram seeks Centre's intervention

<p id="content">Amidst the Covid-19 situation, Mizoram battled with its decades-old border disputes against Assam and Tripura and sought the intervention of Survey of India to resolve the row permanently, officials said yesterday.</p>
"Sometimes unsavory incidents and developments are taking place along the inter-state borders with Mizoram, Assam and Tripura. There are instances that the government officials are also backing these unpleasant happenings," a senior official of Mizoram Home Department told IANS. The official on condition of anonymity said that the Mizoram government already approached the Home Ministry and the Survey of India to resolve the inter-state border disputes. Mizoram shares 123 km borders with Assam, 109 km with Tripura and 95 km with Manipur.

An official of the Mizoram Home department in Aizawl said that Assam's Karimganj district, police and forest officials, illegally entered bordering Thinghlun village in western Mizoram's Mamit district and set fire to a farmhouse and destroyed 1,000 betel nut plants on Friday afternoon. "Mizoram's Director General of police S.B.K. Singh talked over the issue with his Assam counterpart Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta over the phone," the official said.

Karimganj's Additional Superintendent of Police Jyoti Ranjan Nath, however, said officials of the district destroyed a makeshift shed and some cultivation and not betel nut plantation in Choto Bubir Bandh area in Assam's territory along the border as the areas were encroached by some villagers from Mizoram. Mizoram's Mamit district officials visited the area on Saturday and security forces have been posted in the trouble-torn areas to maintain peace. Various Mizoram student bodies — Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) and Mizo Students' Union (MSU) — separately criticized the "Assam officials' actions" and demanded compensation to the affected people.

Since 1995, several rounds of inconclusive meetings between the officials of Mizoram and Assam governments have been held to resolve the longstanding border dispute. Three districts of Mizoram — Kolasib, Aizawl and Mamit — share a 123 km border with southern Assam's Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts.

In another development, Mizoram Home Secretary Lalbiaksangi, in a letter to his Tripura counterpart Barun Kumar Sahu, said that Survey of India has been requested to facilitate the joint spot verification with the Government of Tripura and Mizoram to resolve the inter-state boundary issue at the earliest. The October 9 letter said that the Mizoram government has received reports that Songrongma of Tripura, a local indigenous organization, is trying to construct a "Mandir" (temple) at the "disputed inter-state border village near Phuldungsei"and the letter claimed that the area is under Mamit district.

A copy of the Mizoram Home Secretary's letter was sent to the Union Home Ministry. Tripura government officials refused to make any comment on the issue. Meanwhile, an official inquiry is now underway by the Tripura government after 130 villagers of Phuldungsei situated along the Tripura-Mizoram border were found enrolled in the electoral lists of both the states and drawing various services and benefits.

An official of North Tripura district said that the names of these 130 Phuldungsei residents were recently registered in the electoral rolls ahead of Mizoram village council polls. These people were however enrolled as voters in Tripura for many years, he claimed.

Tripura's Revenue and Fisheries Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma told IANS that he had asked Revenue and Finance Secretary Tanushree Debbarma to inquire into the matter and submit a report at the earliest..