NEW DELHI: India and Bangladesh have planned to complete by November 30 the process of shifting of people living in border enclaves as per their citizenship choice under the provision of the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) ratified by the two countries last month.
Official sources said the exercise to know option of around 51,000 people whether to take Indian or Bangladeshi citizenship will be complete by tomorrow. Under the LBA which was ratified during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Dhaka last month, 111 border enclaves will be transferred to Bangladesh in exchange for 51 that will become part of India.
According to estimates, around 37,000 people are living in Indian enclaves in Bangladesh while 14,000 people are staying in the Bangladeshi enclaves in India. India and Bangladesh had jointly launched an exercise on July 6 to know views of people whether they would like to take Indian citizenship or that of Bangladesh and 98 per cent people have exercised their option by today.
A total of 75 groups of officials were formed, 25 in India and 50 in Bangladesh, to carry out the exercise. "By tomorrow, we will have option of 100 per cent people about their citizenship choices," said a sources.
The entire exercise to shift people as per their citizenship choices will be completed by November 30, sources said. They said government will also start the process of obtaining the land ownership records of people living in the enclaves to facilitate final settlements.
They said no sale and purchase of land in the enclaves will be allowed between June 21 and July 31 and that Home Ministry was working on the modalities to address issues relating to land transfer.
The sources further said the government may start the process of issuing Adhaar card and other required documents to those who opted for Indian citizenship. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh had given specific instructions to ensure that there was no coercion in making people leave their enclaves in Bangladesh, the sources said, adding the entire exercise was taking place in a joyous atmosphere.
The government has also taken a humanitarian approach if a family is divided on the citizenship issue.