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Parliament Approves Land Swap Bill
May 09, 2015

Seeking to settle decades-old border issues with Bangladesh, the Parliament unanimously passed a historic bill to operationalise the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and its 2011 protocol. The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 would help implement the historic Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh to settle the more than four-decade-old land boundary and exchange of enclaves issue.

  • The bill, which entails exchange of enclaves between the two countries, seeks to amend the First Schedule of the Constitution to give effect to an agreement entered into by India and Bangladesh on acquiring and transfer of territories between the two countries on May 16, 1974.

  • The bill to operationalise the agreement with Bangladesh includes exchange of territories in Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya.

  • There are 162 adversely-held enclaves in Bangladeshi and Indian territories.

  • India is supposed to hand over 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres of land and a population of over 37,000 to Bangladesh and on the other hand receives 51 enclaves covering an area of 7,110 acres with a population nearly 15,000 under the agreement.

  • The Indian enclaves are located in Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari and Panchagarh of Bangladesh while all the Bangladesh enclaves are in Cooch Behar of West Bengal.

  • Over 51,000 people are living a ‘miserable life’ in the enclaves without any national identity.

  • The issue of around 5,000 acres of adversely possessed land would also be settled once the agreement is ratified.

  • A 6.1-km undefined border stretch will be demarcated.

  • The 4,100-kilometer frontier is dotted on both sides by almost 200 enclaves, little islets of Indian and Bangladesh territory completely encircled by the other nation and, in some cases, enclaves within enclaves.

  • The geographical anomaly has left tens of thousands of people devoid of education, electricity and medical care along the violent border.

  • People affected will be allowed to choose which citizenship to take and which country they want to live in.

The enclaves date back to the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, when a hasty border was drawn between India and East Pakistan. East Pakistan later became independent Bangladesh in 1971.


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