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Gogoi defends land pact with Bangla

By Kalyan Barooah

NEW DELHI, Sept 7 � Unfazed by attacks back home over the land swap deal, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today claimed that the agreements with Dhaka are win-win deals for both Assam and Bangladesh.

The Chief Minister, who returned from Bangladesh late last evening, defended the land swap with the neighbouring country, clarifying that the State government has not surrendered to all of Dhaka�s demands. In Karimganj, they had asked for over 360 acres, but we gave them only 70 acres,� he told this correspondent.

�The land belongs to a tea garden but we have refused to give in to their demands though the lease agreement is with the neighbouring country.

�Similarly in Dhubri sector, the land given to Bangladesh was already in their possession and nobody from the Indian side was even willing to go and settle there,� he said.

�In a few cases Assam had land records like pattas but in others like Boroibari, we have no records,� he argued, adding that 26 families in Karimganj district had pattas but not in possession of the land.

The Chief Minister also clarified that the deal was not done behind his back but with the consent of the State government. �The whole process was initiated about a month prior to the visit and the Prime Minister had taken my consent,� he revealed.

�I have not sacrificed Assam�s interest and the consent was given taking into consideration all aspects of the deal,� he asserted, admitting that controversy was partly because people were not conversant with all the details.

As reported, Bangladesh is in adverse possession of 665 acres in Assam sector. A few patches of Indian land have been adversely possessed by Bangladesh since partition, Minister of State for Home Affairs M Ramachandran informed the Lok Sabha.

According to the minutes of the Fourth Joint Boundary Working Group (JBWG) meeting held last November, Bangladesh has 160 acres in adverse possession in Kalabari, Barolbari, Dhubri, and 360 acres in Palakhal, Karimganj and 145 acres in Nagaon, Karimganj. The position is not attributed to erection of fence on Indo-Bangladesh border, the Minister said.

The Chief Minister, who is scheduled to address a press conference here tomorrow, was critical of the Opposition for seeking to turn it into a political issue.

If the AGP is concerned now, what were they doing all these years. The Protocol to the Land Boundary Agreement was signed in 1974. When the fencing work started during Prafulla Kumar Mahanta�s time, land in a few areas belonging to us was left off. The AGP did not as much as wink an eye,� he charged.

BJP-led NDA had ruled for so many years, they too did not lodge any protest with Bangladesh on this issue, Gogoi continued.

The Chief Minister, along with the other Chief Ministers of the North-east, who visited Dhaka and held an hour-long meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said a number of critical issues including the vexed illegal migration problem was discussed. The difficulty in holding those declared as foreigners by the tribunals, in detention camps in the State indefinitely was pointed out to her, he added. �

The deals signed between the two sides is going to be win �win situation, as transit route and trade deals would benefit both the sides. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh has indicated her willingness to give an undersea cable connection from Chittagong to Assam. This would improve our Internet connectivity. Currently Assam uses a Chennai-based submarine cable connection. �

On Anup Chetia, the Chief Minister said that the Bangladesh government has given to understand that once the extradition treaty is signed, he may be hand over to India. � I have expressed our desire to have him back,� he said.

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Gogoi defends land pact with Bangla

NEW DELHI, Sept 7 � Unfazed by attacks back home over the land swap deal, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today claimed that the agreements with Dhaka are win-win deals for both Assam and Bangladesh.

The Chief Minister, who returned from Bangladesh late last evening, defended the land swap with the neighbouring country, clarifying that the State government has not surrendered to all of Dhaka�s demands. In Karimganj, they had asked for over 360 acres, but we gave them only 70 acres,� he told this correspondent.

�The land belongs to a tea garden but we have refused to give in to their demands though the lease agreement is with the neighbouring country.

�Similarly in Dhubri sector, the land given to Bangladesh was already in their possession and nobody from the Indian side was even willing to go and settle there,� he said.

�In a few cases Assam had land records like pattas but in others like Boroibari, we have no records,� he argued, adding that 26 families in Karimganj district had pattas but not in possession of the land.

The Chief Minister also clarified that the deal was not done behind his back but with the consent of the State government. �The whole process was initiated about a month prior to the visit and the Prime Minister had taken my consent,� he revealed.

�I have not sacrificed Assam�s interest and the consent was given taking into consideration all aspects of the deal,� he asserted, admitting that controversy was partly because people were not conversant with all the details.

As reported, Bangladesh is in adverse possession of 665 acres in Assam sector. A few patches of Indian land have been adversely possessed by Bangladesh since partition, Minister of State for Home Affairs M Ramachandran informed the Lok Sabha.

According to the minutes of the Fourth Joint Boundary Working Group (JBWG) meeting held last November, Bangladesh has 160 acres in adverse possession in Kalabari, Barolbari, Dhubri, and 360 acres in Palakhal, Karimganj and 145 acres in Nagaon, Karimganj. The position is not attributed to erection of fence on Indo-Bangladesh border, the Minister said.

The Chief Minister, who is scheduled to address a press conference here tomorrow, was critical of the Opposition for seeking to turn it into a political issue.

If the AGP is concerned now, what were they doing all these years. The Protocol to the Land Boundary Agreement was signed in 1974. When the fencing work started during Prafulla Kumar Mahanta�s time, land in a few areas belonging to us was left off. The AGP did not as much as wink an eye,� he charged.

BJP-led NDA had ruled for so many years, they too did not lodge any protest with Bangladesh on this issue, Gogoi continued.

The Chief Minister, along with the other Chief Ministers of the North-east, who visited Dhaka and held an hour-long meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said a number of critical issues including the vexed illegal migration problem was discussed. The difficulty in holding those declared as foreigners by the tribunals, in detention camps in the State indefinitely was pointed out to her, he added. �

The deals signed between the two sides is going to be win �win situation, as transit route and trade deals would benefit both the sides. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh has indicated her willingness to give an undersea cable connection from Chittagong to Assam. This would improve our Internet connectivity. Currently Assam uses a Chennai-based submarine cable connection. �

On Anup Chetia, the Chief Minister said that the Bangladesh government has given to understand that once the extradition treaty is signed, he may be hand over to India. � I have expressed our desire to have him back,� he said.