Hasina thanks Tripura CM for backing land swap deal

| Saturday, May 9, 2015 - 17:55
First Published |

Hasina thanks Tripura CM for backing land swap deal

Agartala: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has thanked Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar for backing the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) that the Indian parliament has passed, an official said here on Saturday.

"The Bangladesh prime minister on Friday night telephoned the chief minister and thanked him" for backing the LBA, a top Tripura government official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

"With the endorsement of the LBA in parliament, India-Bangladesh relations would be strengthen further. Tripura's relations with Bangladesh would get a new high," the official quoted Sarkar as telling Hasina. 

The chief minister also informed Hasina that the Tripura government is setting up an India-Bangladesh friendship park in the state to commemorate the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.

"The Tripura government would invite the Bangladesh prime minister for the inauguration of the park. Hasina expressed her keenness to visit Tripura again," the official said. Hasina visited Tripura in January 2012.

The official said Prime Minister Narendra Modi also telephoned Sarkar on Thursday and discussed the LBA and "thanked Sarkar for his help".

Parliament on May 7 passed a constitution amendment bill for operationalising the LBA with Bangladesh, 41 years after the accord was signed between then prime minister Indira Gandhi and her Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The land swap protocol envisages transfer of 111 enclaves with a total area of 17,160.63 acres to Bangladesh, while the neighbouring country is to transfer 51 enclaves with an area of 7,110.02 acres to India. 

A 6.1-km undefined border stretch will be demarcated with the bill being passed. The 51 enclaves fall in Indian states of West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya.

Under the LBA, the disputed Candannagar village would merged with the Indian territory while Muhuri Char land in southern Tripura would go to Bangladesh.

"There would be no problem if Tripura's two areas exchanged under the LBA," Tripura Revenue and PWD Minister Badal Chaudhury told reporters.

He explained how the people of Belonia (currently south Tripura district headquarters) had suffered since 1965 over the disputed Muhuri Char land.

"Occasional firing from other side of the border killed some Indian citizens including children and prevented Indian farmers to cultivate in the Muhuri Char land adjoining Belonia town (110 km south of here)," said Chaudhury, who has been representing Belonia for many years.

In the Candannagar village, there were 51 families comprising little over 300 people and they except the two families left the village in 2002 after erection of border fencing and living in a near by village inside the fencing.

The villagers said they were allowed to cultivate in their deserted lands on the other side of the fencing and Dhalai river but in most times the Bangladeshi people have been taken away their crops.

In the disputed 64 acres Muhuri Char land, 57 families had been doing cultivation for more than five decades. 

There were also three very old crematories of three different religion groups in the Muhuri Char land of Muhuri river, which flows from Tripura to Bangladesh.

Tripura shares 856 km borders with Bangladesh and eight major rivers including Muhuri and Dhalai flows from the state to the neighbouring country.

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