India, Bangladesh to complete historic land swap today after nearly four decades

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India and Bangladesh will start the exchange of 162 adversely-held enclaves from Friday, marking the implementation of a historic land boundary agreement (LBA) signed in 1974.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka in June this year to finalise the pact.

While India would hand over 51 enclaves to Bangladesh (comprising 7,110 acres), the neighbours would give us 17,160 acres of land spread across 111 enclaves.

The LBA of 1974 will be implemented in a phased manner over the next 11 months. This includes enabling the Protocol of September, 2011.

At present, around 37,000 people are living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh while 14,000 people are staying in Bangladeshi enclaves in India, according to estimates.

In July, the two countries had already completed an exercise taking into account views of the residents on whether they want to shift citizenships.

However, nobody living in Bangladeshi enclaves in India wants to shift to that country, according to a survey.

Taking this into account, the Indian government has already announced a Rs 3,048 crore-package for rehabilitation of the people affected by the land exchange.

The entire process including formalities, which began on June 30, is expected to be completed by today. A new pin-code will also be allocated to the new territories.

Both countries will facilitate “orderly, safe and secure passage” to migrating citizens along with their “personal belongings and movable property” to Bangladesh or India through proper “travel documents”.

The passage “will be arranged by the respective governments by November 30, 2015,” a letter exchanged by the two countries read.

The LBA was ratified by the Indian Parliament in May.

 

 

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