Census in all enclaves done
The much-talked-about data collection of the headcount in all 162 enclaves and exclaves of Bangladesh has been done and Bangladesh and India will exchange their grand totals of the count within a week.
Joint Secretary (political) to the Home Ministry Kamal Uddin Ahmed said, “Yesterday [Sunday] joint survey teams of Bangladesh and India completed headcount in the enclaves [and exclaves] and the main survey sheets [of each family] will be kept in the volts of DC [deputy commissioner] offices' concerned.”
The joint teams conducted the survey based on family, instead of individuals, he said, adding that following the survey each report on a family was photocopied twice. Survey teams concerned of both countries received a copy while the main copy was locked away in the volt.
Bangladesh has 111 enclaves (Indian territories surrounded by Bangladesh) in nine upazilas of four districts--Panchagarh, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Nilphamari, and 51 exclaves (Bangladesh territories surrounded by India) in Cochbihar district.
Sources said while counting heads they recorded names, sex, religion, number of family members and some other particulars.
Joint Secretary Kamal Uddin said both countries are preparing the database and they will verify the database reciprocally. When their pieces of information are the same, the work at the ground level is done.
Home ministry sources earlier said they went for headcounts instead of a census as many frustrated dwellers had left the enclaves or exclaves and moved to other convenient places selling their land.
India and Bangladesh decided to conduct the headcounts and gather fundamental data from the dwellers including the amount of land each family owns.
Later, they decided not to gather information about land ownership to avoid lengthy land disputes in enclaves and exclaves, said a home ministry source.
Deputy Commissioner Mokhlesar Rahman Sarker of Lalmonirhat said, “There are 59 enclaves in the district and I coordinated three-day-long (Friday-Sunday) headcounts. Main copies of the headcount in the district are kept in my office volt.”
The Adversely Possessed Land and enclaves/exclaves issues are going to be resolved in line with the Mujib-Indira Land Boundary Agreement, 1974.
Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikdar and his Indian counterpart Gopal K Pillai in a fresh initiative had agreed to resolve the dispute at secretary-level talks held in Dhaka earlier this year.
Home ministry sources said the enclave-exclave issue will be settled among other bilateral issues, during the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh scheduled for September.