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Enumeration of enclave dwellers ends


NEW DELHI, July 16 - Enumeration of dwellers on both sides of the India-Bangladesh border came to an end and till this evening 98 per cent of the population had exercised their option. The figure is expected to touch 100 per cent.

Officials here however, could not provide the exact number of people who have opted for Bangladeshi citizenship and how many Indians have preferred to stay back in Bangladesh, saying that the data is still being compiled.

An inter-ministerial meeting of the ministries of External Affairs, Home Affairs and Defence was held today to take stock of the situation after the process formally came to an end, said sources.

The process of enumeration in the 6.1-km undemarcated stretch along the international border between India and Bangladesh was completed today and transfer of population will be completed by November 30, the sources said.

�This will be a momentous event in the history of India-Bangladesh relations as it would mark culmination of demarcation of the India-Bangladesh boundary, complete with transfer of population between the two sides,� said an official.

The Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) envisages transfer of 111 enclaves with a total area of 17,160.63 acres to Bangladesh, while Dhaka will transfer 51 enclaves with an area of 7,110.02 acres to India. A 6.1-km undefined border stretch will be demarcated.

Following the passage of the LBA in Parliament the enumeration process got under way on July 6. At least 75 teams of enumerators had fanned out across the areas concerned for the massive exercise, mainly in West Bengal and adjoining areas.

Sources said that as a precautionary measure the governments on both sides of the international border ordered a ban on sale and purchase of land in the enclaves till July 31. Officials on both sides expect to update their land records by then.

Sources said the next phase would be undertaken after the monsoon season and temporary camps would be set up to complete the exercise and by the November 30 deadline, people living in the undemarcated stretch will be shifted. The rehabilitation package would be decided by the state government concerned.

According to a head count undertaken in 2011, it was estimated that there are 37,000 Indians in Bangladesh and 14,000 Bangladeshis in India. Officials claimed that just about 5 per cent people are interested in moving to the other side, as the people have fully assimilated with the local population and have land holdings.

The 2011 Protocol will ensure that the India-Bangladesh boundary is permanently settled with no more differences in interpretation, regardless of the government in power.

This also helps in issues of security concern, including security cooperation and denial of sanctuary to elements inimical to India.

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