GUWAHATI, May 10 � Though India will have to take some additional burden of people during the implementation of the land swap deal with Bangladesh, Assam will not be affected by it. Assam will lose 268.39 acres of land in two places due to the deal.
Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that though there would not be any major displacement of population during the implementation of the deal, India would have to take some additional burden and the State affected by it would be West Bengal.
Sources pointed out that there are 111 Indian enclaves in four districts of Bangladesh covering an area of 17,160.63 acres, while 51 Bangladeshi enclaves covering an area of 7110.02 acres are in India. As per the land swap deal, the enclaves would be exchanged. A head count of the people living in the enclaves was carried out jointly by India and Bangladesh in 2011 and it was found that 51,549 people are living in these enclaves. Around 37,000 persons are living in the Indian enclaves in Bangladesh, while over 14,000 are living in the Bangladeshi enclaves in India, which are located in the Coochbehar district of West Bengal.
Sources revealed that the people living in the enclaves were given an option to decide whether they wanted to stay in the area where they have been staying all their lives, or they wanted to shift instead of officially changing their nationality during the implementation of the deal. Majority of the people living in the enclaves decided to stay in the places where they have been staying for years, but around 300 families living in the Indian enclaves in Bangladesh have applied to come to this side as they do not want to stay in Bangladesh.
During the process of implementation of the deal, those families would have to be shifted to India and settled elsewhere. But sources asserted that Assam would not be affected by any extra burden of population.
Meanwhile, according to a report of the Ministry of External Affairs on the land swap deal, Assam would be the only affected State that would not gain land from the deal.
The report said that the territory to be transferred to India include 2398.05 acres in West Bengal, 240.578 acres in Meghalaya and 138 acres in Tripura. The territory to be transferred to Bangladesh includes 1957.59 acres from West Bengal, 41.702 acres from Meghalaya and 268.39 acres from Assam. The report said that the land to be transferred to Bangladesh from Assam includes 193.85 acres in Boraibari in Dhubri district and 74.54 acres in Pallathal in Karimganj district. However, the areas were never in possession of India and were in adverse possession of Bangladesh.