Amendment to Constitution underway to enable land exchange with Bangladesh

External Affairs Minister, Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, on Thursday (May 17) said that the government is drafting amendment to the Constitution to facilitate the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh. There are 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India.

In a letter to CPI leader Prabodh Panda, Krishna said, "The government is committed to the earliest implementation of the Protocol and Land Boundary Agreement that would result in exchange of enclaves."

The Protocol and the Agreement, signed between our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on September 6 last year require ratification by both governments.

Krishna held that the ratification necessitates an amendment of the constitution and preparatory steps to place a draft amendment bill before Parliament are underway.

His letter was in response to Senior CPI leader Prabodh Panda’s demand in Loksabha on May 3 for an answer from the government about the steps being taken to resolve Indo Bangla Enclaves issue.

Panda said that the number of Indians living in enclaves in Bangladesh was 37,100 and Bangladeshis living here was 14,200, as per the latest census carried out jointly by both countries.

Indian enclaves in Bangladesh occupy 17,149 acres of land while Bangla enclaves in India take up 7,110 acres of land, he said in the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour.

Panda expressed his concern by saying, "These large numbers of people of both countries are deprived of political rights and they do not enjoy social facilities that are necessary for development of individuals in a free society."

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