`India, Bangladesh boundary row resolution to bring goodwill’September 9th, 2011 - 3:05 pm ICT by IANS
Shillong, Sep 9 (IANS) Meghalaya gained 240 acres, but lost 41 acres as India and Bangladesh resolved their boundary row, said Chief Minister Mukul Sangma who added that it will bring “goodwill and prosperity”.
Sangma accompanied Manmohan Singh during the prime minister’s Sep 6-7 visit to Dhaka. The two countries signed a framework agreement on cooperation for development and a protocol on demarcating their land boundary besides inking pacts on various issues.
“We would be gaining around 240 acres of land under adverse possession of Bangladesh, but would be losing around 41 acres of our land to Bangladesh,” Sangma told IANS Friday.
The new India and Bangladesh land accord will safeguard the interests of Meghalaya, he said.
“Instead of (an) irritant and disputed border, we now expect to have a border which will enable us to have goodwill and prosperity and border of conflict should be converted into border of mutual trust,” the chief minister said.
The pact between Delhi and Dhaka is to swap 162 enclaves.
The enclaves are islands of land resulting from traditional ownership arrangements that survived both the partition of the sub-continent after the end of British rule in 1947 and Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.
A joint census of 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladeshi territory and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in Indian territory concluded July 18. The survey showed 51,000 people lived in these landlocked islands.
There are 11 such areas in Meghalaya.
While Bangladesh cites documents of 1937, the Indian side relies on land records of 1914 to support its claims.
The border issue has been an “irritant”, said Sangma.
He added that the northeastern states despite being surrounded by international borders have “no meaningful trade and commerce”.
“Therefore, it has become very important to ensure that there is a conducive atmosphere created along the border and relations are built up for furthering our engagement of trade and commerce,” Sangma said.
Sangma, who held several meetings with top Bangladeshi leaders including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, wanted tourism between India and its neighbours to improve.
“Look at Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand which lure lakhs of international tourists each year earning billions from this upcoming industry. India, Bangladesh and Bhutan together could become one of the world’s biggest tourist circuit if these countries coordinated properly,” he said.
“The northeastern part of India is a ‘virgin area’ with a lot of resources. We can explore the opportunities together for future generation,” the chief minister added.
However, the border villagers from Pyrdiwah and Lyngkhat areas which are adversely held in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills have expressed unhappiness with the swapping of land.
“We are waiting for the minutes of the actual agreement to know whether India really agreed to the proposal of the joint border survey,” said Peter Rynjah, the secretary of the Federation of Ri War Mihngi Local Dorbars, a body representative of 132 villages in the border areas.
Of the 4,095 km long border between India and Bangladesh, Meghalaya shares 443 km, part of which is porous, hilly, unfenced and is prone to frequent infiltration.
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Tags: adverse possession, chief minister, conducive atmosphere, enclaves, framework agreement, indian territory, international borders, irritant, land boundary, manmohan, manmohan singh, meghalaya, mukul, mutual trust, new india, northeastern states, pact, pacts, shillong, war of independence