The Coordination Committee on International Border (CCIB) has blamed the Meghalaya Government for the ongoing problem arising out of the non-fulfillment of the demand to re-demarcate the boundary pillars in Khasi and Jaiñtia hills of Meghalaya with Bangladesh.
The CCIB has been fighting for re-demarcation of boundary pillars in Khasi and Jaiñtia hills of Meghalaya with Bangladesh since the present boundary pillars are only “working pillars” and not “permanent pillars.”
The 1975 Indo-Bangladesh Border agreement, according to the CCIB, has clearly stated that “for so long, the permanent boundary between India and Bangladesh is not yet demarcated, the present pillars will stay as working pillars till permanent pillars are executed.”
“Till date, India and Bangladesh are yet to re-demarcate the boundary pillars, and they have been insisting that the border fencing should be erected at 150 yards away from the Zero Line. Till today, we did not have the permanent boundary pillars, and we cannot identity the real Zero Line,” CCIB secretary Kmen Myrchiang said, after a delegation of the CCIB met the Chief Executive Member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), HS Shylla on Monday.
The delegation apprised Shylla of the move of the Centre to erect the border fencing without re-demarcating the boundary pillars, and without getting the ‘no objection certificate’ from the Council.
Blaming the state government, the CCIB said that people along the Indo-Bangla border are losing land and facing this problem till today because of the insensitivity of the state government and public representatives on the issue.
“The real zero line is yet to be demarcated and defined till date, even though the 1975 Indo-Bangladesh Border agreement has clearly mentioned that the present pillars are not permanent pillars,” Myrchaing said.
He said that the CCIB did not oppose the border fencing, but wanted the government to first demarcate the permanent boundary pillars, so that the exactly zero line will be known.
“We welcome fencing but it should come up on zero line and not at 150 yards away. The government should respect by obtaining the no objection certificate from the district council,” Myrchiang said.
The CCIB said that the border residents are losing about 579 acres of land because the permanent boundary has not been demarcated.
The group said that the even Protocol to the Land Boundary Agreement signed between India and Bangladesh during the visit of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka in September 2011 has failed to address the problem.
During the meeting, Shylla informed the CCIB delegation that he along with them and the land owners would conduct a joint inspection of the international border from Nongjri on December 17 to oversee the proposed move to erect the border fencing despite not knowing the real boundary.
Earlier, Shylla has assured that the KHADC would seek the intervention of the Centre to protect the rights of indigenous people along the Indo-Bangla border in Khasi and Jaiñtia Hills under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The CCIB delegation insisted Shylla that the KHADC should intervene, as according to them, a local contractor, who was engaged as sub-contractor, has already started the work in certain areas for the erection of fencing, though the Council has not given its consent, which is in violation of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and without conducting the Social Impact Assessment study.