Bangladesh and India have started demarcating the land in “adverse possessions” (AP) and raising pillars on the international border in Jalpaiguri district of north Bengal. The Survey of India officers have reached the disputed South Berubari gram panchayat in the district and demarcating the boundary, sources told The Hindu . The officials are raising the pillars “immediately” while marking the border in order to avoid future disputes.
The process will put an end to a humanitarian crisis triggered in 1947 following the erroneous omission of a police station in Jalpaiguri district by British lawyer Cyril John Radcliffe, while dividing the country.
In June, Bangladesh and India agreed to put an end to the dispute on the basis of 2011 Protocol. The Protocol identified the disputed areas and the 2015 agreement agreed to complete the “ground demarcation” of the boundary in 2016.
As per the agreement, the process to demarcate the villages under South Berubari started last week. The Survey of India officers, headed by senior officer Biswanath Chakravarty, reached the village with border guards of both countries and initiated the process. Official sources told The Hindu that “110 subsidiary pillars and 10 main pillars” will be constructed on the Berubari border.
The officials, with the help of the district administration, completed the tender and commissioned local builders to raise the pillars. Pillars will be raised in five villages under South Berubari gram panchayat and in another adjacent Panchayat, Nagar [City] Berubari, on the international border. The process of demarcation, by raising pillars, will be completed as per Article III of 2011 Protocol by drawing fixed boundaries “for territories held in AP” in four eastern States — West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. The 2015 Agreement says that all the demarcation will be completed by June 30, 2016.
However, the nature of the problem is different in Assam or Tripura. While in Bengal the residents of AP-land are Indian citizens residing on Bangladeshi [erstwhile East Pakistan] land, in Assam or Tripura Bangladeshi citizens are living on Indian land. “I do hope that the problem of all the States will be resolved by June 2016 as agreed,” said Sardaprasad Das, president of the South Berubari Pratiraksha Committee.