Border survey delayed: MEA to take final call

With the stalemate over joint verification of the disputed Meghalaya-Bangladesh border continuing, a joint survey team has referred the issue to the respective foreign ministries.

Updated: Dec 21, 2010, 18:30 PM IST

Shillong: With the stalemate over joint
verification of the disputed Meghalaya-Bangladesh border
continuing, a joint survey team has referred the issue to the
respective foreign ministries.

The survey virtually remained suspended since December 16
after local people and border guarding forces created
hindrances in carrying out the survey work.
Some Bangladeshis, armed with sharp weapons and backed by
BDR men illegally entered India and confronted the survey
officials several times since the process began on December 7,
government sources said.

Meghalaya survey officials, however, said the process was
on, but the progress "very slow".

The sources said the issue had been referred to the
Ministry of External Affairs. "There is disagreement on a lot
of stretches. The ground has to be cleared first. The MEA has
to intervene."

With the festive season commencing in Meghalaya, the
survey officials of Meghalaya have also returned from the
survey sites and the exercise is unlikely to resume before
January 3.

Sources said the BDR men are obstructing the survey at
those stretches which are adversely held by India like
Muktapur, Lyngkhat and Pyrdiwah, claiming that the land
belonged to Bangladesh and was not disputed.
The joint survey of the disputed Bangladesh-Meghalaya
border, which is expected to pave the way for settlement of
the boundary dispute, started on December 7.

The exercise, which was mooted by the Joint Boundary
Working Group during its meeting in New Delhi in November
2009, is being conducted by survey and land records officials
of Bangladesh and Meghalaya.

In that meeting, it was decided that BDR and BSF would
provide "outside security" to the officials conducting the
survey.

The verification will be conducted in 12 disputed patches
bordering Meghalaya, stretches of which are under "adverse
possession" of either countries.

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.

PTI