New Delhi: A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Monday asked the government to present without any delay a bill to give effect to the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) noting that it was in national interest and will pave way for broader ties with the neighbouring country.
In its report presented to the Lok Sabha, the Standing Committee on External Affairs said coming into force of the pact may result in a "modest" demographic change in bordering areas and observed that security dimension due to influx of population should be considered seriously by the government.
The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 is aimed at ratifying the LBA under the Indira-Mujib pact of 1974 to exchange areas and people on either side of the border.
As per the provision, India will exchange 111 enclaves measuring 17,160 acres with Bangladesh and receive 51 enclaves covering 7,110 acres. Almost 51,000 people reside in these enclaves. The territories involved in the exchange are in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Tripura.
The Standing Committee headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor felt the difficulties being faced by the people living in the "enclaves" of both the countries would come to an end once the pact comes into force.
"The committee are of strong opinion that the Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill 2013 is in overall national interest as it would pave the way for broader bilateral ties with one of our closest neighbours, Bangladesh," it said, adding that delays in passage of the bill have needlessly contributed to the perpetuation of a huge humanitarian crisis.
The Committee asked the government to keep ready a blueprint for development of the enclaves to be handed over to India by Bangladesh so that development work can be started immediately after the pact is ratified.
The LBA was signed on May 16, 1974 soon after the independence of Bangladesh to find a solution to the complex nature of border demarcation. The pact was ratified by Bangladesh government in 1974. Though the Cabinet had granted approval in 1974, the pact was not ratified by India as it involved cession of territory.