Prasanta J Baruah
DHAKA, Sept 7 – Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has described the border agreement between India and Bangladesh signed here yesterday evening as a step forward in proper management of the international border which in days to come will positively influence border related issues like illegal influx, smuggling, trafficking , crimes among others.
Talking to this correspondent at the signing function of the agreements here in the presence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina,Chief Minister Gogoi said: “You cannot expect everything to happen in a single day. Today the border disputes have been settled. Now we can get down to develop our border infrastructure which will definitely check influx."
Saying that such agreements will lead to better understanding between the two neighbouring countries which share a common border of over 4,000 kms , Gogoi said issues like acknowledgement of the problem of illegal migration of people from Bangladesh to Assam followed by repatriation pacts could be taken up with the neighbouring country in the days to come.
The Chief Minister however said that the number of people coming illegally from Bangladesh was showing a downward trend as was reflected in the last census. “In the last census” we have seen growth of population only in the char and tea garden areas where there is lot of illiteracy.Moreover, there is no more excess land nor jobs in our State,” he added.
As Bangladesh has consistently denied the illegal migration of its people across the border to Assam and other parts of the country, Indian authorities have been facing problem in sending back the illegal Bangladeshi migrants detected in India. Even the Assam Government which has set up an elaborate illegal migrants detection machinery consisting of over 32 Foreigners' Tribunals does not have a proper deportation mechanism. People declared as illegal migrants by the Tribunals are handed over to the Border Security Force to be pushed back into Bangladesh. In most cases they are again pushed back into India by the Bangla authorities. With the number of "D" or doubtful voters in the electoral rolls of the State running into several lakhs , the magnitude of the problem in the absence of cooperation from the Bangla Government can well be imagined.