GUWAHATI, Sept 14 – Accusing the Opposition parties of indulging in a misleading propaganda on the Indo-Bangla land-swap deal, Government spokesperson and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that the pact- apart from conceding much more land to Assam than to Bangladesh-had settled the vexed border row with the neighbouring country once and for all.
"With this agreement, we will be able to seal the unfenced portion of the border. This will facilitate implementation of a major clause of the Assam Accord," Sarma said at a press conference.
Sarma said that Assam actually benefitted by 1,240 acres of land while Bangladesh got 357 acres following the pact. "Along two disputed stretches of Palatal and Nayaganj, we will now be able to erect fences some 2km inside Bangladesh's territory, while on the Boraibari sector status quo would be maintained," Sarma said.
Sarma said that the matter was clarified by the Chief Minister during his press conference in New Delhi after the agreement but that the matter was not properly highlighted in the media, particularly the vernacular press.
Seeking to assuage public feelings that the issue of cross-border infiltration from Bangladesh never figured in the talks, Sarma said that the matter was discussed and that an extradition treaty to that effect was in advanced stage.
"The issue of infiltration was discussed with Bangladesh and a pact is in advanced stage," he said.
Asserting that a progressive Bangladesh was in Assam's interests, Sarma said that a nagging border row with the neighbouring country would harm Assam's causes. "Besides the land deal, several agreements have been signed with Bangladesh which would facilitate enhanced cooperation between the two countries in areas like transport and communication, business, etc., and these will have a gainful impact for Assam," he said.
The minister also revealed that an all-party delegation including media persons would soon visit the border areas so that everybody could have a correct assessment of the changes made with regard to the demarcation following the land-swap deal.
Sarma further said that the Assembly in its next session would devote a day to discuss the land pact with Bangladesh and its aftermath.