Skirting Tripura’s highest peak Betlingchip, lies a scenic village Phuldungsai on the Tripura-Mizoram border – claimed by the both.
While Tripura authorities claim the village in Kanchanpur subdivision had been “traditionally” part of it, Mizoram, in a latest update of its electoral roll had included 130 people of the village into its north-western constituency Hacchek.
This was first brought to notice by the Chandni Chandran, Sub-divisional magistrate of Tripura’s Kanchanpur — under which Phuldungsai falls — who in a letter to the District Megistrate North, urged an “urgent need to demarcate the exact boundary between Mizoram and Tripura incorporating the entire Phuldungsai VC in Tripura”
“Phuldungsai village council has been added as part of constituency as Zampui Phuldungsai,” Chandran mentioned in the letter a copy of which is in possession of News Move.
She said that the village Phuldungsai, with a population of over 1064 people predominantly of Mizos, is divided between the two states by a road leading to Kawnpui in Tripura’s Jampui hills with the western side within the Phuldungsai village council while the eastern side within the Zampui Phuldungsai of Mizoram’s Mamit district.
“Traditionally, Phuldungsai VC as a whole (despite eastern side falling in Mizoram) has been accepted as a part of Tripura. Hence, the inclusion of the village council and its residents in Mizoram electoral rolls seems to be problematic,” Chandran wrote.
Sharing a list of the 130 voters with News Move, Kanchanpur legislator Prem Kumar Reang said, “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.”
A tribal leader, and the first time legislator from the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, an ally to the ruling BJP, said this is not the first time Mizoram had “laid claim on the village”.
“Mizoram claims that the eastern side of the village on the other side of a PWD road falls under its jurisdiction. But facts say otherwise. Tripura runs health centres, schools in the area. We are constantly informing the higher authorities on the developments,” Reang said.
In 2010, A Dewanjee, the then BDO of Jampui Hills block, had in a report said a stretch of land “measuring 2.5 kms starting from the Bettlingchhip peak up to the approach road of BSF camp has been claimed by some people to be under the possession of Mizoram…”
Dewanjee added that when residents approached the Mizoram government, it showed them a “survey map of 1933 AD where the said portion of land was recorded under the state of Mizoram”.
North Tripura district administration officials, however, maintained that Phuldungsai has been listed as a autonomous district council village in revenue records of the state for decades.
Tripura royal scion Pradyot Manikya Debbarman had also flagged the issue through a Facebook post in which, he said he had moved the Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to deal firmly on “our territories being taken away by a neighbouring state”
“This report from authorities does confirm that an illegal election were held by the government of Mizoram on our land and state We demand immediate response from the govt of Tripura in this matter. The Tripura boundaries are non negotiable…” Debbarman, said.
Meanwhile, the 130 people who are in the electoral list of both the states are enjoying dual benefits as they also posses ration cards of both the states.