New Delhi, May 5: The Union cabinet on Tuesday cleared a statute amendment Bill to operationalise the Land Boundary Agreement. The move has come to fore after Modi Government took various states, including Trinamool-ruled West Bengal on board on the issue.
The Bill will include territories in Assam along with those in West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya. The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi met this morning to clear the Bill that is likely to come up in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Highly placed sources said government has already talked to various parties in the Upper House, where an earlier bill in this regard is pending since December 2013. Government had earlier proposed to bring the bill in Lok Sabha, but faced stiff opposition from the opposition that wanted that territories in Assam be included in it.
The inclusion of Assam territories in the Bill indicates government's resolve to get the legislation cleared after bringing all parties on board. Government will bring the Constitutional Amendment Bill for ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh. It would require ratification of at least 50 per cent of the state legislatures before it comes into effect.
BJP-RSS discussed the ramification of Assam's inclusion
The clearing of the Bill by Union Cabinet comes a day after the top leadership of BJP and RSS discussed the bill with its Assam leaders and decided to include the territories pertaining to the state. The meeting, attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, along with RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal, held at the residence of BJP chief Amit Shah yesterday lasted a few hours.
Sources said the top BJP RSS leadership discussed the Assam Assembly elections slated for next year and the party's strategy for it as also the political ramifications of delinking Assam from the land boundary bill.
The BJP leaders from the state had earlier demanded that Assam should be delinked from the Bill as exchange of territories to Bangladesh had become an "emotive issue" in the state. Congress had demanded that Assam should not be delinked from the Bill and its territories be included in it and had opposed tooth and nail the exclusion of Assam from its ambit.
What is the LBA?
The land swap deal known as Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) was signed between former PM Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh's Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka in September 2011.
Under the agreement the zig-zag Indo- Bangladesh border will be redrawn and made much straighter.
As per the agreement, each country will have to transfer area under adverse possession and enclaves to the other one.
What will happen under the deal?
Under the agreement, India will receive 111 enclaves spread over 17,000 acres from Bangladesh and will hand over 51 spreading over 7,110 acres to it.
Bangladeshi enclaves mean land with people belonging to the country but encircled by Indian Territory.
India will also acquire 2777.038 acres adverse possession areas and transfer 2267.682 acres adverse possession areas to Bangladesh.