Land-owners complain against Indo-Bangla land swap

Shillong: Influential NGOs and landowners along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya on Friday aired their dissatisfaction with the historic Indo-Bangladesh land agreement under which the state conceded 41 acres of land to the neighbouring country.

"We are not satisfied with the land swap deal signed by India as we stand to lose the maximum amount of land," G H Kharshanlor, chairman of Coordination Committee on International Border (CCIB), said.

The CCIB, a conglomeration of influential NGOs like the KSU, FKJGP, HNYF besides others, met Chief Secretary W M S Pariat to convey their demands.

Under the land boundary accord inked between India and Bangladesh during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Dhaka last September, Meghalaya gained 240 acres of land that were adversely held by the neighbouring country.

Questioning the nature of the land deal, the CCIB said that "out of a total of 559.70 acres of 'land under adverse possession' (as per government records) 281 acres has been settled in favour of India while Bangladesh got 41 acres of land".

KSU general secretary and CCIB member Hamlet Dohling alleged there are no records for the remaining 278 acres of land.

"The land swap was done only by the government agencies without taking into consideration the views and records of landowners along the Indo-Bangladesh border," Dohling said.

Even the government-constituted CCIB Forum was not taken into consideration while undertaking the survey of land, he said while demanding fresh surveys to re-align the actual zero line along the international border.