The fourth round of peace talks between Mizoram government and Hmar People's Convention(D), scheduled to be held during mid-February has been deferred, additional secretary to the state home department Lalbiakzama said on Saturday.

Lalbiakzama said that the peace talks had made tremendous progress and was nearing conclusion with both the sides expressing optimism to find an amicable solution to the Hmar imbroglio.

But the fourth round of talks has been deferred for different reasons and the new date for it would be fixed once the state government clears the necessary legislation procedures and allocate fund.

"Implementation of the proposed framework agreement would necessitate legislation by the state assembly for establishment of a revamped council to be named as Singlung Hills Council replacing Sinlung Hills Development Council," he said.

The provisions of the proposed legislation have to be vetted by the state law and judicial department which would take time, Lalbiakzama added.

Finance department's approval also was being sought as expenses for rehabilitation of HPC(D) cadres would have to be worked out before they come overground following signing of an agreement between the two sides, he added.

The Hmar community, who are found concentrated in the north eastern part of Mizoram adjoining Manipur, have been demanding a separate autonomous district council like the Maras, Lais and Chakmas in the southern part of the state.

HPC went underground in 1989 demanding a separate autonomous district council and signed an agreement with the state government in 1994 which resulted in the formation of the Sinlung Hills Development Council (SHDC).

HPC(D) was formed by former HPC cadres who were unhappy with the agreement and launched armed insurrection for a separate autonomous district council for the Hmars. But it agreed to abandon the claim and agreed to more power to SHDC during peace talks which commenced from August 10 last year.