West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday night rejected the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) with Bangladesh in its present form and asked the Indian government to take the consent of state government and people residing in enclaves which are to be exchanged by the two countries under the deal.
Mamata’s statement came hours after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and India’s leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj had also conveyed her party’s strong opposition to a constitution amendment bill, proposed to be introduced by Indian government in the Rajya Sabha, for implementation of the LBA, reported our New Delhi correspondent.
In a hard-hitting statement posted on her Facebook account, she said: “In the Land Boundary Agreement, the state government had mentioned to the Indian National Security Advisor and the previous and present Ministers of External Affairs the need for obtaining consent from the people residing in the areas that are to be transferred. It must be noted that our state of West Bengal will get only about 7,000 acres of land but will have to cede nearly 17,000 acres of land to Bangladesh.”
The LBA envisages exchange of 161 enclaves held adversely by Bangladesh and India.
“The case of Teesta Water Agreement may be recalled where, during the draft stage, the federal Indian government had said something but proposed something totally different in the final stage,” said Mamata who had opposed a proposed deal on Teesta water-sharing at the last moment just before Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Dhaka in September 2011.
“This (LBA) cannot be accepted without taking into confidence and consent of the local people who live in the transferable areas,” the Trinamool Congress chief said.
“What is the hurry of the Indian government to give away our land and our water without the consent of the state government? What type of politics the Indian government is trying to play”? Mamata posed questions.
Earlier also, Indian government had given away the land from Assam and Tripura states to the country concerned, she said.
“The interests of the states cannot be compromised this way. We strongly urge that the Indian government must follow the established federal norms of the country in the interest of overall well being of the country and its people,” she said.
“Though we maintain friendship and good relations with Bangladesh, but it should not be at the cost of the people of West Bengal,” she said.