Reported on: July 12, 2012 13:02 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, July 12 (UNB) - Sharing of Teesta water with Bangladesh may not find favour with Mamata Banerjee but she is quite positive about the proposed exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.
The chief minister inquired about the state's preparedness in the administrative meeting at Cooch Behar on Wednesday.
Mamata did a stock-taking of the ground reality with senior officials of the district, chief secretary Samar Ghosh, home secretary Basudeb Banerjee and DGP Naparajit Mukherjee.
The CM asked district magistrate MK Gandhi and the police superintendent to prepare a detailed report on the Bangladesh enclaves that lie adjacent to the border with Bangladesh.
India and Bangladesh have 164 enclaves (55 Bangladesh enclaves in Indian territory and 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh territory). In recent years, following a movement by the 'nowhere people' in both countries, governments of both countries took a step towards the enclave exchange treaty signed by premiers Indira Gandhi and Bangabandhu Seikh Mujibur Rehman in 1974.
But the process was stalled after Mamata took a rigid stance against the exchange, because Bengal would lose more than 10,000 acres. Even a 27-day-long hunger strike by enclave dwellers could not move her. Emissaries from UPA-II government tried to convince her on the Teesta water and enclave exchange issues, which are vital to smooth diplomatic relations with the Seikh Hasina-led Bangladesh government.
"Today, the chief minister herself raised the issue. She is perhaps the first CM who allowed us to speak on the matter. She said she is aware of the sufferings of enclave dwellers and asked the district administration to prepare a report," said a Cooch Behar official. In her close circle, she even expressed her wish to visit a few enclaves for a first-hand experience.
Diptiman Sengupta, convenor of Bharat Bangladesh Enclave Exchange Coordination Committee, welcomed her approach. "We expect that she will realise the stateless condition of the enclave dwellers and will take positive steps to solve the problem," said Sengupta.
-- Indian media