Former enclave-dwellers from Bangladesh step into West Bengal
Sixty-seven members of 19 families from erstwhile enclaves (Chhitmahals) in Bangladesh, who opted to come to India after the official exchange of enclaves, arrived in Coochbehar district on Thursday after crossing Changrabandha-Burimari border checkpost.
Cooch Behar MP Renuka Sinha, District Magistrate P Ulganathan, Additional District Magistrate Ayesha Rani and Cooch Behar SP Rajesh Kumar Yadav were among the officials present at Changrabandha International Checkpost to welcome the people who were brought in vehicles to the checkpost at about 1.10 pm.
A blue-white canopy was erected for the programme at zero-point of the border and folks songs and folk dance were performed to welcome them.
After the brief welcome ceremony, they were sent to makeshift houses (rehabilitation centres) newly built for them at Mekhliganj Agriculture Farm.
During the first month, the newcomers will be provided with cooked food and children would get special food like milk and eggs, official sources said.
After one month they will get essential commodities through ration system free of cost.
Arrangements were being made to provide them with banking and AADHAR card documents soon. After two years, permanent shelters will be arranged for them.
Following the Land Boundary Agreement, Bangladesh and India exchanged 166 adversely-held enclaves on August 1 at the stroke of midnight by which 111 enclaves of India and 51 enclaves of Bangladesh were exchanged.
After that 991 members of 220 families of the enclaves expressed their eagerness to come to India.
Their arrival which began today will continue on November 22, 23, 24 and 26, the sources said.
Cooch Behar district administration has made arrangements for their stay at rehabilitation centres built at Changrabandha in Mekhliganj, Chilahati in Haldibari and Sahebganj in Dinhata.