Thursday, February 29, 2024

M’laya-Bangla border survey stalled, again

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Shillong: Survey officials of Meghalaya and Bangladesh were engaged in negotiations after ‘differences’ cropped again over the disputed tracts stalling the joint verification.

After the survey resumed on Thursday, only the Lyngkhat area could be completed and thereafter no headway made in the next two days.

“There are differences of opinion between the two sides regarding the location of the international border. They survey teams are on the border and are negotiating. The survey can resume only after the two sides are able to arrive at a consensus,” a state survey official said on Sunday.

The official said the “difference of opinion” is in all the disputed stretches and that negotiations are being held at various levels.

Last year, the survey was done for one of the disputed areas which was under the adverse possession of Bangladesh.

The verification of the “adverse possession lands” (APLs), beginning at Sylhet-Meghalaya border, is being conducted by the land records officials of Bangladesh and Meghalaya.

The decision for the joint verification was taken last September during a meeting between top Indian and Bangladesh officials at Dhaka to resolve disputes over borders like Dibirhaor, Sripur, Tamabil, Sonarhat, Bichnakandi, Protappur and Lalakhal in Sylhet with Meghalaya.

The joint survey on the said borders remained suspended since December in the face of protest by border people and difference of opinion between the survey officials of both the countries at several places.

An attempt was made to resume the survey in April, but no headway was made.

The joint survey of the disputed borders along Bangladesh-Meghalaya, which is expected to pave the way for settlement of the boundary dispute, started on December 7.

According to official records, currently, there are 551.8 acres of Bangladeshi land under “adverse possession” of India (Assam and Meghalaya) while 226.81 acres of Indian land is under adverse possession of Bangladesh.

The areas under adverse possession, 12 of them in Meghalaya sector, were created when the two countries demarcated the international boundary in the mid-1960s.

Border guards of both the countries have been locked in gunbattles time and again on those frontiers over possession of the stretches, leading to fleeing of locals. Bangladesh government has been objecting to the fencing in these patches, citing the disputes. (PTI)

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