The Telegraph
Saturday , April 23 , 2016

Residents decry Bangla pact

Shillong, April 22: Indo-Bangla border residents in Meghalaya today decried the land boundary agreement signed between India and Bangladesh and claimed that through this agreement, Meghalaya has lost about 579 acres of land to the neighbouring country.

The residents, along with a delegation of Coordination Committee on International Border, comprising village heads and representatives of several organisations, met border areas development minister Prestone Tynsong here and apprised the government of the problem.

Shillong MP Vincent H. Pala and Amlarem MLA Stephanson Mukhim were also present.

While the 2011 protocol (to the land boundary agreement of 1974) was signed between India and Bangladesh during the visit of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh in September 2011, the land boundary agreement was signed during the visit of the present Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in June 2015.

The coordination committee has been opposing the 2011 protocol.

The committee's spokesperson, G.H. Kharshanlor, told reporters that the deputy commissioners have been conducting surveys in the border areas for the construction of border fencing, despite the fact that the boundary in the Khasi Jaintia sector of Meghalaya from Nongjri to Jaliakhola is in dispute and yet to be re-aligned by India and Bangladesh.

Opposing the land agreement, the committee said the 2011 protocol has led to Meghalaya losing vast tracts of land to Bangladesh.

"In theory, 240.5 acres came to Meghalaya and 41.7 acres went to Bangladesh. There is no question of land swapping, because in practical terms, the agreement has given away about 579 acres of land from Khasi Jaintia hills of Meghalaya to Bangladesh," the committee's secretary, Kmen Myrchiang, said.

He said the problem arose leading to India losing land to Bangladesh because the stakeholders, particularly the border residents, were not taken into confidence when a joint survey was conducted in the Meghalaya sector.

According to the committee, the minister has assured to convene a high-level meeting to discuss the issue.

The Shillong MP also assured committee members to take up the issue with a petition panel of Parliament.

The committee also said border fencing should not be taken up without re-aligning the boundary and the existing border pillars.

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