The Mizoram government on Wednesday permitted construction work to resume on the border with Assam, which has allegedly not stopped developments along the boundary despite an order from the Centre, PTI reported.

Mizoram claimed it has been building roads and bridges to link police posts and camps in border areas after a standoff with Assam in July, in which five Assam Police officers were killed after the dispute escalated.

Last week, the Assam Police had stopped a group of Mizoram residents from building a road in Cachar district along the border.

Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana during the State Boundary Committee meeting on Wednesday said that deputy commissioners of the districts of Kolasib and Mamit were asked to resume constructions along the border with Assam, PTI reported.

This followed after the Centre on November 5 asked the Assam and Mizoram governments to “maintain the status quo” on the disputed areas.

Three days later, the Mizoram Home Department asked Kolasib and Mamit districts to stop work along the border.

But Mizoram’s Joint Action Committee on Inner Line Reserve Forest Demand had on Monday described the central government order as “one-sided and biased” because Assam had allegedly continued constructions along the inter-state border, PTI reported.

Meanwhile, during the Mizoram State Boundary Committee meeting on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister Tawnluia on Wednesday said that the two states should hold a political dialogue to resolve the boundary dispute.

The committee also said that the inner line reserved forest notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, should be the basis of the state border between Mizoram and Assam.

The border dispute

In 1972, Mizoram was carved out of Assam and made into a separate Union Territory. In 1987, it became a full-fledged state. The three south Assam districts of Cachar, Hailakandi, and Karimganj share a 164.6-km-long border with Mizoram’s Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts.

The dispute between the two states stems from differing views on which border demarcation to follow.

Mizoram’s perception of the border is based on an 1875 notification that flows from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873. The Act demarcated the hills from the plains and valleys in the North East, restricting free travel between the two zones. The hills were deemed to be “excluded areas”.

Assam, for its part, goes by a 1933 notification by the state government that demarcated the Lushai Hills, as Mizoram was then known, from the province of Manipur.

Several rounds of dialogue at various levels since 1994 have failed to resolve the matter, leading to the occasional violence and disagreements.