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Cabinet clears bill on Bangladesh land boundary accord

Cabinet clears bill on Bangladesh land boundary accord

New Delhi: The union cabinet on Tuesday cleared a bill to operationalise the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh which entails exchange of enclaves by both countries.

The decision to approve the Constitution (119th Amendment Bill), 2013, on the land boundary agreement was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Press Information Bureau director general Frank Norhona said.

The bill includes exchange of territories in Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya.

The constitutional amendment bill for ratification of the agreement is expected to be taken up in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs had also recommended a constitution amendment bill to enable the swapping of enclaves between India and Bangladesh.

Sources said the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership discussed the land boundary protocol and its ramifications for the assembly polls in Assam in the wake of suggestions from state BJP leaders that Assam should be delinked from the agreement.

Assam will face assembly elections next year.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had on Saturday expressed surprise at the reported decision of the central government not to include clauses relating to Assam in the protocol without consulting the state government.

He had requested Modi to include the state in the protocol signed between the governments of India and Bangladesh on September 6, 2011.

The land swap protocol envisages transfer of 111 enclaves with a total area of 17,160.63 acres to Bangladesh, while the neighbouring country is to transfer 51 enclaves with an area of 7,110.02 acres to India. A 6.1-km undefined border stretch will be demarcated with the bill being passed.

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