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Bangla MPs seek speedy ratification
Spl CORRESPONDENT
 NEW DELHI, Nov 30 – At a time when anti-foreigners agitation is rocking the State, an all-Party delegation of Bangladeshi Parliament has pressed for early ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement by India.

The 12-member Parliamentary delegation led by senior Awami League MP, Tofail Ahmed is arriving at Guwahati tomorrow to take part in the India-Bangladesh Parliamentary Dialogue organized by FICCI. The delegation that includes Barrister Moudad Ahmed, who was Law Minister in BNP regime met MPs belonging to various Parties.

The delegation is visiting India to exchange notes on the contentious issues like ratification of the land swap deal, the Teesta Water Sharing Agreement, Tipaimukh Dam, the incidents of firing by BSF at the international border. Several of the visiting MPs lamented the lack of forward movement in ratification of the agreements signed during Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s Dhaka visit, last year.

The first-ever Parliamentary delegation from Bangladesh is scheduled to meet Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi the civil society and intellectuals as part of the dialogue. The visit by the delegation comes at a time when the movement against the illegal aliens has gathered momentum in the State and Tarun Gogoi Government has come under increasing attack over the land transfer agreement with the neighbouring country

Interacting with newsmen, Tofail Ahmed, who was Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s political secretary, while hailing the trade agreements, said that main problem was the delay in ratification of the land boundary agreement. Bangladesh has ratified the agreement but India has not ratified. “The real problem still exists and our people at the border is suffering tremendous problem,” he said.

“The issues have been identified but we are unable to resolve them. We want the two countries to talk and we hope that the pending boundary dispute would be resolved.” Ahmed said.

The insurgent groups that have taken shelter in Bangladesh do not exist. There are no insurgent groups in our territory. The Leader of Opposition, Begum Khaleda Zia, who visited India recently, has also assured that these people would not ever be given shelter in Bangladesh,” he said.

Significantly, construction of dams and barrages on rivers in the North-East, has also emerged as a major cause of concern for Bangladesh. Barrister Moudad Ahmed of BNP flagging the issues, said that India and Bangladesh share 54 rivers but so far the two countries have agreement on only river the Ganga. The Teesta River water deal is struck, he commented.

“We have heard that 12 barrages have been built up and 33 rivers are damed. We do not know what the fact is, we don’t get information and this is a matter of concern,” he said.

When asked whether Dhaka has blocked major proposals like the granting transit rights to goods bound for North-east and access to Chittagong Port to India because of the delay in signing of the agreements, the MPs struck a cautious note, asserting that road were Bangladesh was not good shape take load of heavy vehicles. The road condition in Bangladesh is bad and it would take some time to build good roads, said Ahmed.

The delegation includes Narayon Chandra Chanda (AL), H.N.Ashequr Rahman (AL), Tarana Halim (AL), M.K.Anwar (BNP), Shahriar Alam (AL), Rashed Khan Menon (Workers Party), Zunaid Ahemd Palak (AL), Zafar Iqbal Siddique (Jatiya Party), Golam Mostafa (BNP) and Rumana Mahmood (BNP).

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