Modi, Mamata to discuss Teesta on Aug 11-12
03 August 2015, Nirapad News: With the land boundary agreement (LBA) now complete, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi is beginning work on the Teesta water sharing agreement with Bangladesh.
On August 11-12, Modi and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will meet in New Delhi to take stock of things after the land and population exchange as well as work out a checklist for Teesta, which is tougher given the implications for West Bengal farmers. The Times of India reported today.
Reports said , Modi has stepped in before bureaucratic miserliness becomes a political problem with Mamata. Mamata has been invited to meet Modi on August 11-12 so the Centre and the state can work out a financial support package that covers the effects of both the LBA and Teesta agreement for Bengal.
This would include infrastructure, irrigation support, deal with arsenic in ground water, rehabilitation of displaced persons and new citizens. All 51 Bangladeshi enclaves which are now Indian territory are in the Cooch Behar district of West Bengal – after 68 years they have to be provided with facilities they had been denied all these years. West Bengal has been pitched by Modi as the launchpad for his ‘Act East’ policy. Mamata is crucial to the success of that policy.
Reports Said the execution of the LBA was one of the successes for the otherwise inefficient Indian state, when two nations worked as one: from demarcation of boundaries, to mapping out the exchange of people, joint polls to make sure everyone who was affected got a voice and a choice.
At the end of this mammoth exercise, India gave Bangladesh a total area of 17,160 acres, covering 111 enclaves, and in return received 7,110 acres comprising 51 enclaves.
After 68 years of stateless existence, 14,000 people living in Bangladeshi enclaves in India have opted to stay in India. However, out of the 37,000 living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh, only 979 people have opted to come to India.
This created an interesting quandary for New Delhi and West Bengal government. India had reckoned that many more living in Bangladesh would opt to come to India (given the large numbers of illegal migrants who do). Accordingly, the home secretary had informed the West Bengal government that a package of Rs 3,009 crore would be given to West Bengal to pay for the rehabilitation of the estimated thousands who were to come. With the final number being only 979, the finance and home ministries have told Mamata that the payout would be much less. Needless to add, Mamata was livid, believing she was being shortchanged, but also because she has to build infrastructure in the enclaves – bridges, roads, public utilities etc, all of which would now have to be paid out of the state’s treasury, which is in a parlous state anyway.