Friday, July 31, 2015

A continuous boundary with Bangladesh!

1. The process of handing over Bangladesh's villages within India and India's villages within Bangladesh had begun from the midnight of this day. It's gonna take 11 months for completion and that date will be 30 Jun '16! The agony of the people having to spend in no-man's land without developmental activities coming in must have been a nightmare!


2. The Land Boundary Arrangement(LBA) was signed by the then Prime Ministers of the two countries, Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibhur Rehman in '74. But the assassination of Sheikh Mujib, soon after, saw the agreement put into cold storage! Let's see the significant aspects of this agreement.

    (a) 162 villages will be exchanged the breakdown of which is:-

          * India will give away 51 villages covering 7,110 acres.
          * Bangladesh will give away 111 villages covering 17,160 acres. 

     (b) Total number of people that will be affected:-
           * Indians staying in Bangladesh               37,000
           * Bangladeshis in India                            14,000

3. The LBA was revived and ratified by the Lok Sabha in May, this year, following which the instrument was mutually exchanged by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina on 06 Jun.

4. How did such a phenomenon come about?

    Before India's independence, the Raja of Cooch Behar had gifted away these villages consequent       to losing chess games, played with the local chieftains/rulers!

Some other characteristics of the Agreement.

     * The villagers will have the option of retaining citizenship of whichever country they choose.
     * The right to dual citizenship can also be exercised by them. In a joint survey that was 
        conducted none of those dwelling in the Bangladeshi villages within India want to let go of 
        their Indian citizenship and another 600 have expressed keenness to migrate into India/possess
        Indian citizenship.
     *  The people will have the right to have land holdings on a pro rata basis of their existing 
     *  The relocation will begin in Nov, this year and the Indian government has set aside Rs.3,068
         crores for the purpose.

5. The process of handing over 100 Bangladeshi villages and 50 Indian villages had begun at midnight.


A continuous boundary with Bangladesh at long last! Let's hope that this is a trailblazer for a peaceful atmosphere on this border and there will be no more influx of illegal migrants, henceforth! And perhaps, an early agreement on the Teesta water sharing can also not be far behind!! 

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