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Indo-Bangladesh historic land swap to start at midnight today

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 3:27 IST

At one minute past midnight today, some 50,000 residents along the border of India and Bangladesh will light candles and celebrate their "new found freedom" following a historic agreement between the two countries.

Ending more than four decades of waiting, the two countries will start the exchange of 162 adversely-held enclaves, marking the implementation of their landmark land boundary agreement (LBA).

While India will hand over 51 enclaves comprising 7,110 acres to Bangladesh, the neighbouring country will give India 111 enclaves comprising around 17,160 acres.

Bangladesh and India will implement the LBA of 1974 and the enabling Protocol of September, 2011, in a phased manner over the next 11 months.

According to an estimate, around 37,000 people are living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh while 14,000 people are staying in Bangladeshi enclaves in India.

India and Bangladesh have already completed an exercise in July to ascertain the views of the residents in the enclaves whether they would like to take Indian or Bangladeshi citizenship. None living in Bangladeshi enclaves in India wants to shift to that country, as per a joint survey. However, an estimated 600 people want to migrate to India.

The Centre has already sanctioned a Rs 3,048 crore package for the rehabilitation of the people affected by the exchange of enclaves under the LBA implementation.

Between 31 July 2015 and 30 June 2016, the entire process, including physical exchange of enclaves and land parcels in adverse possession along with boundary demarcation, is expected to be completed.India and Bangladesh will print, sign at the plenipotentiary level, and exchange the strip maps of un-demarcated sectors.

The LBA was ratified by the Indian Parliament in May 2015.

First published: 31 July 2015, 2:17 IST