The Northeast Village Of 130 Voters Claimed By Both Tripura And Mizoram

This back-and-forth between the two governments was flagged by Chandi Chandran, the sub-divisional magistrate of Kanchanpur in Tripura's Jampui Hills

The Northeast Village Of 130 Voters Claimed By Both Tripura And Mizoram

The village of Phuldungsai is near Betlingchhip, Tripura's highest peak


The 130 voters who live in Phuldungsai, a scenic hamlet near Betlingchhip - Tripura's highest peak - have found themselves in the middle of a tussle between the Tripura and Mizoram governments, with each state claiming the village as part of their territory.

Authorities in Tripura say the village has "traditionally" been part of the Kanchanpur subdivision. Their counterparts in Mizoram disagree; the latest update to that state's electoral roll lists the village residents as part of its Hacchek constituency.

This back-and-forth between the two governments was flagged by Chandi Chandran, the sub-divisional magistrate of Kanchanpur.

Ms Chandran, in a letter to the District Magistrate (North), said there was an "urgent need to demarcate the exact boundary between Mizoram and Tripura (while) incorporating Phuldungsai VC in Tripura". "Phuldungsai VC has been added as part of the Zampui Phuldungsai constituency," her letter said.

Ms Chandran further said the village, with a population of around 1,000 (most of whom belong to the Mizo tribe), is divided by a road that leads to Kawnpui in Tripura's Jampu Hills.

The western side of the village lies within the Phuldungsai Village Council, while the eastern lies within the Zampui Phuldungsai of Mizoram's Mamit district.

"Traditionally, Phuldungsai VC as a whole (despite the eastern side falling in Mizoram) has been accepted as part of Tripura. Hence, the inclusion of the village council and its residents in Mizoram electoral rolls seems to be problematic," Ms Chandran wrote.

Kanchanpur MLA Prem Kumar Reang, who is part of the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura - an ally to the ruling BJP -, pointed out that the village residents even availed of ration facility from the Tripura government.

"Those present in the electoral roll of Zampui Phuldungsai are residents of Tripura. They even avail ration facility from Phuldungsai ration shop under Kanchanpur sub-division," he said, claiming that Mizoram had attempted such moves in the past as well.

"Mizoram claims the eastern side of the village, on the other side of a PWD road, falls under its jurisdiction. The facts say otherwise. Tripura runs health centres and schools in the area. We are constantly informing the higher authorities on the developments," he said.

In 2010, A Dewanjee, who was then the Block Development Officer (BDO) of Jampui Hills, said in a report that a stretch of land "measuring 2.5 km, starting from the Bettlingchhip peak up to the approach road of a BSF (Border Security Force) camp has been claimed by some people to be under the possession of Mizoram".

A Dewanjee also said that when residents approached the Mizoram government they were shown a "survey map of 1933 where the said portion of land was recorded under the state of Mizoram".

North Tripura district officials, however, maintain that Phuldungsai has been listed as an autonomous district council village in revenue records of the state for decades.

Pradyot Manikya Debbarman, Tripura's royal scion, flagged the issue through a Facebook post, in which he said he had asked Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to deal firmly with "our territories being taken away by a neighbouring state".

"This report from authorities does confirm that illegal elections were held by the government of Mizoram on our land and state. We demand immediate response from the government of Tripura in this matter. Boundaries of Tripura boundaries are non-negotiable," he said in his post.

Despite attempts to do so, NDTV has not been able to get a reaction from the Mizoram authorities on this matter.