Exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh begins
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 31: The disputed land enclaves along the Indo-Bangladesh will be exchanged by the governments of the two neighbouring countries on Friday and the exercise will affect some 60,000 people.
"In accordance with steps agreed to between India and Bangladesh during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh on June 6-7, 2015, the Bangladeshi enclaves in India and Indian enclaves in Bangladesh shall stand physically transferred to the other country with effect from the midnight of 31 July 2015," an Exterl Affairs ministry communiqué said.
India will hand over 51 enclaves, comprising 7,110 acres to Bangladesh, the neighbouring country will give India 111 enclaves comprising around 17,160 acres. Bangladesh and India will implement the LBA of 1974 and the ebling Protocol of September, 2011, in a phased manner over the next 11 months. According to an estimate, around 37,000 people are living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh while 14,000 people are staying in Bangladeshi enclaves in India.
Following Prime Minister Modi’s visit, much work has gone into ascertaining the tiolity options of the enclave residents. The Office of the Registrar General of India, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and DM, Cooch Behar and DCs of Lalmonirhat, Panchagarh, Kurigram and Nilphamari worked systematically and in a coordited fashion to collect the options from the residents.
The actual option taking exercise was carried out by 75 teams operating in the enclaves in India and Bangladesh from July 6-16, 2015. Thirty observers from both Governments were also present in the enclaves during this survey period. Data from this joint exercise is now being verified by the Office of the Registrar General of India and the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.
After successfully completing the exercise of ascertaining tiolity options of enclave residents, the ground has been prepared for the movement of such residents who exercise the option of moving from an Indian enclave to the Indian mainland. Both Governments are working closely together to facilitate trouble-free movement of these residents before the stipulated date of November 30, 2015.
Other steps with regard to implementation of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and 2011 Protocol are underway in accordance with agreed modalities between Government of India and Bangladesh, the communiqué said.
The Centre has already sanctioned a Rs 3,048 crore-package for rehabilitation of people affected by the exchange of enclaves under the LBA implementation. The entire process, including physical exchange of enclaves and land parcels in adverse possession along with boundary demarcation, is expected to be completed between July 31, 2015 and June 30, 2016.
While there are no enclaves in Assam, the State’s boundary stands to be altered due to the “official” transfer of the adverse possession tracts in Karimganj and Dhubri sectors.
New border pillars will be set up to mark the re-demarcated boundary.
An official in the Assam Land Records department said a total of 982 acres along the Assam-Bangladesh border were “disputed”. Of this, 714 acres – all in the Latitila-Dumabari area of Karimganj - will be handed over to Assam and the rest 268 acres will go to Bangladesh. Bangladesh will get 74 acres in the Pallatal Tea Estate of Karimganj and 193 acres at Thakuranbari-Boraibari in Dhubri.