Shillong: Meghalaya has
lost 41 acres of land as India and Bangladesh have demarcated
their boundaries but the overall agreement will only bring
"goodwill and prosperity" to both countries, said state Chief
Minister Mukul Sangma Friday.
Sangma was part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's entourage to
Bangladesh Sep 6-7. The two countries signed a framework agreement
on cooperation for development and a protocol on demarcating their
"We would be gaining around 240 acres of land under adverse
possession of Bangladesh, but would be losing around 41 acres of
our land to Bangladesh," Sangma told IANS.
The new India and Bangladesh land accord will safeguard the
interests of Meghalaya, said Sangma.
"Instead of irritant and disputed border, we now expect to have a
border which will enable us to have goodwill and prosperity and
border of conflict should be converted into border of mutual
trust," the chief minister said.
About 55 such enclaves in all were under adverse possession by
India despite Bangladesh claiming them. Likewise, 111 territories
were under adverse possession by Bangladesh, although India
claimed it was their territory.
The land agreement between the two countries, however, decided
that the dispute be resolved - those disputed enclaves under
possession by India would be handed over to Bangladesh and vice
These adverse possession areas were created when the erstwhile
East Pakistan and India demarcated the international boundary in
There are 11 such areas in Meghalaya.
While Bangladesh cites documents of 1937, the Indian side relies
on land records of 1914 to support its claims. The exact area of
the entire enclaves cannot be immediately estimated.
The border issue has been an "irritant", Sangma said adding, the
northeastern states despite being surrounded by international
borders have "no meaningful trade and commerce".
"Therefore, it has become very important to ensure that there is a
conducive atmosphere created along the border and relations are
built up for furthering our engagement of trade and commerce,"
Sangma told IANS.
Sangma who held several meetings with various top Bangladeshi
leaders including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, wanted tourism
between India and its neighbours to improve.
"Look at Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand which lure lakhs of
international tourists each year earning billions from this
upcoming industry. India, Bangladesh and Bhutan together could
become one of the world's biggest tourist circuit if these
countries coordinated properly," he said.
"The northeastern part of India is a 'virgin area' with a lot of
resources. We can explore the opportunities together for future
generation," the chief minister added.
However, the border villagers from Pyrdiwah and Lyngkhat areas
which are adversely held in Meghalaya's East Khasi Hills have
expressed unhappiness with the swapping of land.
According to a recent joint border survey, out of the current 220
acres, Pyrdiwah will be allowed to hold only 193 acres.
"We are waiting for the minutes of the actual agreement to know
whether India really agreed to the proposal of the joint border
survey," said Peter Rynjah, secretary of the Federation of Ri War
Mihngi Local Dorbars, a body representative of 132 villages in the
Of the 4,098 km long border shared between India and Bangladesh,
Meghalaya shares a 443 km border with Bangladesh, part of which is
porous, hilly, unfenced and is prone to frequent infiltration.