Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A ‘Catch-22’ Situation: Enclave Dwellers in Dilemma Over Land Rights

Statesman News Service
Siliguri, 22 June
Though Trinamul Congress leaders, including Cooch Behar district president Rabindranath Ghosh, met people in Bangladeshi enclaves in the Indian part and conveyed chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s greetings to them, many people, who have farmlands there but live in Indian part, are in a fix over land rights after the Land Boundary Agreement.

The matter came to light after some leaders of some organizations, including the BJP and the RSS, started interacting  with the people of those enclaves. It may be noted that RSS leaders accompanied by some members of the Kuchlibari Sangram Samiti were studying the situation of Bangladeshi enclaves and people’s happiness level there.

Some people, who have farmlands in Bangladeshi enclaves but now live in Indian territory after having acquired Indian voter identity cards, have sought suggestions on the problem they are now facing or may face  during the actual execution of the enclave exchange plan. An advisor to the Kuchlibari Sangram Samiti, Sadhan Kumar Paul, was taken aback after learning of the problems of the enclave dwellers and he failed give them proper suggestions, as, according  to him, it is completely a legal matter related to the transfer of land between India and

Bangladesh. “Bangladeshi enclave residents, who have start- ed living in the Indian part with valid papers but cultivate their farm- lands in Bangladesh for livelihood are in a dilem- ma,” said Mr Paul. “They have come to know (though we are all in the dark about it) that during the process of enclave exchange, the enclave land will  be decl- ared vest land and the government will  finally settle all matters related to land,” he said, adding, “They fear that they would be deprived of their land rights during the

LBA execution because they did  not  appear before the joint team of inspection in 2011 too.”

Notably, a man, who has a plot  of farmland in Baapokhri, a Bangladeshi enclave, but now lives in India, did  not meet the India-Bangladesh joint survey team because he wanted to enjoy Indian citizenship and use the land in Bangladeshi enclave for his livelihood. “There are several people, who are seeking suggestions from us as well  as the district administrative officials,” Mr Pual said.

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