Mahanta for fresh border demarcation

Silchar: AGP leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta on Thursday said there should be a fresh survey and demarcation of the 4096-km Indo-Bangla border, including the 267.3-km stretch along Assam.

After visiting the 92-km international border in Karimganj district, Mahanta told the assembly that the land-swap deal, signed between India and Bangladesh during the Dhaka visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and four NE chief ministers on September 6, was asfull of errors and that the interest of Assam has largely been sacrificed.

"The states of West Bengal and Meghalaya were benefited from the deal, but Assam lost its land. There should be a fresh survey and demarcation of the entire border. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi is not giving the true picture to the people of the state about the agreement," Mahanta told reporters in Karimganj on Thursday.

The former Assam chief minister also visited the disputed 2.874-km stretch in Lathitila-Dumabari and Madanpur-Palatol in Karimganj district and talked to farmers who lost their land to Bangladesh as a result of the deal. "The farmers showed me the land documents, which prove that the land in question, which was handed over to Bangladesh, belongs to them. How can the Centre sign such a deal without consulting Parliament. This is against the provisions of the Constitution and a compromise with sovereignty," said the AGP leader.

Mahanta also talked to Indian people who were barricaded out during construction of the barbed- wire fencing along the border.

He said people living on the other side of the border were living an inhuman life. "The government should immediately take measures to rehabilitate them," he said.

Mahanta said his party will raise the issue during the special session of assembly on October 17.

Under the protocol to the 1974 land boundary demarcation between India and Bangladesh, which was signed in the first week of September, 94.6 acres of land at Lalthila and 299.04 acres at Pallathal, which have been in adverse possession of Bangladesh since 1965, have also been ceded away to Bangladesh. The state also lost Boraibari village in Dhubri.

Mahanta alleged that his party lost the last assembly elections because of tampering of EVMs by the ruling party. He demanded that ballot papers should be used during the ensuing elections to ensure free and fair voting.

Asked about the delay in completion of the Lumdinga"Silchar broad gauge project under NF Railway, the senior AGP leader blamed both chief minister Tarun Gogoi and former Union minister Santosh Mohan Dev for this. asThe people of this region have been bearing the burnt due to political rivalry between the two senior Congress leaders," he said.