Assam forest officials claims ‘Mizoram again constructing road on Assam’s land’

Aizwal: Mizoram has constructed a stretch of a 3.5km road inside a reserve forest in Assam despite a central government advisory against constructions in disputed areas along the inter-state border, officials have said citing a drone survey conducted in Assam’s Hailakandi on Sunday.

Assam and Mizoram share a 164.6km disputed border. The two states have held talks over the border since the Centre intervened after six people were killed in firing between their police forces in July.

Hailakandi divisional forest officer Jayanta Deka said the stretch was being constructed inside Assam and that the construction work was going in violation of the advisory. He added over 100 people with arms were working for the construction almost one kilometre inside from the inter-state border. “Our team of five members visited the area but we could not protest because they were large in number.” Deka cited the difficult terrain and added it took the team over five hours to reach there.

“It is a complete reserve forest area near the inter-state border. Our officials… reached the spot after travelling on boats for hours. They came back at night with pictures and videos which can prove that the construction is happening.” He added Assam has kept the forest untouched and Mizoram has destroyed it and cut trees on their side. “They have constructed a 3.5km-long road. We are going to send a report to the state government based on our drone and physical survey.”

Hailakandi police superintendent Gaurav Upadhyay said he discussed the matter with his Mizoram counterpart and he agreed to discontinue the construction works. “We found on last Saturday some movement of machineries…at Haticherra reserve forest area. As the area is near Assam-Mizoram border, we took up the matter with Mizoram’s Kolashib administration. They immediately responded and assured to stop the construction activities.”

Mizoram’s Kolashib district police superintendent Vanlalfaka Ralte echoed Upadhyay. “A road repair work was being carried out… near the border. After getting the information we immediately ordered them to stop the work and they have assured to follow the orders.”

Union home ministry on November 5 issued an advisory to Mizoram and Assam to maintain the status quo in the disputed areas along the border and refrain from undertaking any construction activities. The home departments of the two states accordingly instructed the deputy commissioners of border districts to comply.

Mizoram home minister Lalchamliana last week ordered the deputy commissioners of Kolasib and Mamit, which share borders with Assam, not to halt construction activities after a meeting of the State Boundary Committee. He alleged Assam is not following the status quo. Assam denied the allegation and asked Mizoram to refrain from spreading wrong information.

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