Shillong, Dec 3: Chief Executive Member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), H.S. Shylla will inspect areas along the Indo-Bangladesh border to get first hand information in connection with the move of the Centre and the state government to go ahead with the construction of border fencing.
Shylla informed this to a delegation of the Coordination Committee on International Border (CCIB) during his meeting them at his office here on Monday.
The CCIB apprised Shylla regarding the move to erect the border fencing without re-demarcating the boundary pillars, and without getting the ‘no objection certificate’ from the Council which according to them is in violation of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, and without conducting the Social Impact Assessment study.
The CCIB blamed the Meghalaya government for the ongoing problem especially the non-fulfillment of their demand to re-demarcate the boundary pillars in Khasi and Jaiñtia hills of the state with Bangladesh.
The CCIB has been fighting for re-demarcation of boundary pillars in Khasi and Jaiñtia hills as 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 the meeting with the KHADC chief.
The CCIB said that people along the Indo-Bangla border are losing land and continued to face 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.
Shylla informed the CCIB 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 at 150 yards, despite not knowing the real boundary.
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.