KARIMGANJ, May 22 � Amidst arguments and counter-arguments, the Bill to operationalise the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh which entails exchange of enclaves by both countries, was cleared by the Union Cabinet on May 5.
While the government is confident that it is a good deal for Assam, Arjun Goala, Tribhuban Upadhya, Harinarayan Koiri and other natives of Lathitilla-Dumabaroi and Palatal villages feel that this decision has brought clouds of uncertainty over their livelihood.
According to sources, due to this agreement as much as 90 acres of revenue land of Kukithal GP and Pathini GP constituting Karkhana Pathini (known as Karkhana Putni-RH-1621), Baro Pathini (known as Baro Putni-RH-1622), Lathitilla (RH-4727) and Dumabaroi (known as Dumabari (RH-1725) in Karimganj district will now be going to Bangladesh. Further, of the 218.08 acres of land of Madanpur Tea Estate, only 159.19 acres fall in India and the rest fall in Bangladesh.
Interestingly, the natives of the villages who claim to be the tax-payers of the remaining part of the land which falls well within the agreement, have expressed disappointment with the land swap deal between the two nations.
Speaking about their woes, Tribhuban, Arjun and the others said, �We have been paying taxes for the stretch of land for many years. The government is handing over the land to Bangladesh, so it should give us adequate compensation.�
In the words of Harinarayan Koiri, the hullabaloo that Assam will gain from this land swap agreement is rather misunderstood as, the part of the land that will come to Assam is already demarcated well within its territory. It is the taxpaying villagers who will end up being on the losing side, he added.
Asked if they agreed that this was not a costly deal, the annoyed village dwellers cried out in unison that if this part was already on Bangladesh side, on what grounds did the government accept taxes from them all these years. They also said that four years ago they had met Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi with their demand. The BJP top brass too had visited them in 2013 with assurances that their land would not be given to the neighbouring country under any circumstances. They rued the fact that the government and its leaders drifted from their commitment after the elections.
The villagers also said that the fencing work began keeping a large part of their land outside the ambit of the agreement, against which they had filed a case at the Gauhati High Court. As a consequence the fencing work had to be stopped.
Meanwhile, Karimganj Deputy Commissioner SG Baruah said that since this was a government decision, he would follow whatever would be communicated to him by the government.
On the other hand, this disputed Land Boundary Agreement may also lead to an identity crisis for some villagers. According to a section of the people living in the villages concerned, the portion of the land which now belongs to Bangladesh is the only tangible evidence of their being Indians as required to be submitted in the form of a document for the NRC update procedure.