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Thursday, July 2, 2015, Ashar 18, 1422 BS, Ramadan 14, 1436 Hijr

'Appointed Day' for land swap July 31 midnight
Population Verification Begins July 6
Published : Thursday, 2 July, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 267
Saleem Samad
Bangladesh and India will separately begin verification of people living in enclaves on July 6 to determine their choice of citizenship.
India will start the process of verification of people living in 51 border enclaves, to be handed over to Bangladesh, while Bangladesh officials will seek formal opinion of the residents of the 111 Bangladeshi enclaves in India, a top official of the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
"The exercise will start on July 6 simultaneously in all enclaves which will be given to India as per LBA land swap deal," a Home Ministry official confirmed.
The transfer of 162 enclaves will be effective from the midnight of July 31, according to the text of the "Letters on Modalities for Implementation of India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) 1974" and "Protocol of 2011 to the Land Boundary Agreement."
The movement of the residents of the enclaves from one country to another, if they wish to do so, will be complete by November 30 this year, stated the letters that were exchanged early last month between the foreign secretaries of Bangladesh and India in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Dhaka.
During the intensive exercise, government officials will ask people living in the enclaves whether they would like to choose Bangladeshi citizenship or want to remain as Indians.
Bangladesh and India will implement the Land Boundary Agreement of 1974 and Protocol of 2011, in phases over the next 11 months.
The verification process in Indian and Bangladeshi enclaves is expected to be completed before July 31, termed as 'Appointed Day' for the exchange of enclaves.
Bangladesh and India will print, sign at plenipotentiary level and exchange the strip maps of the un-demarcated sectors by the 'Appointed Day.'
As per LBA, neighbouring India will hand over 51 enclaves, comprising 7,110 acres to Bangladesh while India will hand over 111 enclaves comprising around 17,160 acres.
Between July 31 of 2015 and June 30 of 2016, the entire process, including physical exchange of enclaves and land parcels in adverse possession along with boundary demarcation, is expected to be completed, the official said.
Both governments will facilitate "orderly, safe and secure passage" to the enclave dwellers along with their "personal belongings and movable property" to Bangladesh or India through proper "travel documents," according to a letter exchanged by the two countries.
The issues relating to adversely possessed land and border demarcation will be settled by June 30 of 2016. The passage "will be arranged by the respective governments take place by November 30 of 2015.?
Bangladesh and India have also outlined the modalities of a complex process of settlement of immovable property. The dwellers, who are hoping to move from one enclave to another country as proper citizen for the first time since Independence, will have to provide "details of the records and specifications of immovable property" to the local district administration.
The details will be posted in the public domain by the administrations and the governments will "facilitate remittance of sales proceeds" of the property.
Between July 31 of 2015 and June 30 of 2016, the entire process, including physical exchange of enclaves and land parcels in adverse possession along with boundary demarcation is expected to be completed.
 "India and Bangladesh agree that Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and Bangladeshi enclaves in India exchanged pursuant to the 1974 Agreement and 2011 Protocol shall stand transferred to the other with effect from the midnight of July 31, 2015," says the text. This shall be referred to as the 'Appointed Day'.
This legitimacy, however, is available only to those residents who are included in the joint headcount of the enclave population that was finalised and exchanged by the two governments in July 2011, and to the children born to such residents from July 2011 till date.
According to the headcount of 2011, there are 37,383 people in 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh covering 17,160.63 acres and 14,090 people in 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India covering an area of 7,110.02 acres.
Prior to the 'Appointed Day,' representatives of the both Bangladesh and India will conduct a joint visit to the enclaves to inform the residents about the provisions contained in the 1974 Agreement and the 2011 Protocol, including their rights relating to nationality and citizenship. They will also identify those residents who would wish to retain the nationality they hold prior to the actual transfer of the territories, the official said.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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