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Mamata to take up Teesta, enclaves issues with Sheikh Hasina

Mamata to take up Teesta, enclaves issues with Sheikh Hasina
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In a significant diplomatic move, which could improve ties with Bangladesh over Teesta and Enclaves issue (Land Boundary Agreement-LBA), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is going to Dhaka on a three day official tour as a Chief Guest to attend “Bhasha Divas” (Language Day), which is commemorated on February 21. This will be Banerjee’s first visit to Dhaka after becoming  Chief Minister and it is expected to be a milestone visit.

Banerjee has a packed itinerary that includes meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her senior cabinet ministers on February 20 to discuss various areas including skill development, border management, cultural exchange programs besides finding solutions to Teesta water sharing and LBA.
Earlier, in September 2011, she had refused to be a part of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s entourage to Dhaka to sign treaties on Teesta water sharing and exchange of enclaves. Since, then the Teesta river water sharing agreement has remained in the backburner after it lost support in the Parliament.

Banerjee claimed that treaties on Teesta and enclaves issues will affect Bengal’s share of the river waters and adversely affect farming in North Bengal in terms of “land loss” while exchanging enclaves. Later, she revised her stance in December 2014 and expressed support for a “conditional” LBA (stressing rehabilitation package from the Centre). With her visit, it is expected that she will find an amicable solution over Teesta treaty, if her concerns are addressed. Under LBA, India will have to transfer 111 enclaves (land with people belonging to Bangladesh but encircled by Indian Territory) measuring 17, 160.63 acres to Bangladesh and will receive from Bangladesh 51 enclaves measuring 7, 110.2 acres. In addition, India will acquire 2777.038 acres adverse possession areas and transfer 2267.682 acres adverse possession areas to Bangladesh.

In terms of population, India has to bear the responsibility of nearly 14,215 people (as per government statistics, which might  increase subject to villagers request on where they want to stay). On the other side, Bangladesh has to take care of nearly 37,369 people.

Teesta River, which originates from Sikkim and flows through the northern part of West Bengal in India before entering Bangladesh, has also been cause for dispute between the two nations. On December 22 last year, Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid had come to India and invited Banerjee to visit Bangladesh.

The invitation was further followed up by a letter from Hasina. Bhasha Divas is organized in Bangladesh to commemorate the martyrdom of university students protesting the imposition of Urdu as the national language in 1952, when Bangladesh was part of Pakistan.
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