Reaching out to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Centre on Thursday announced a package of Rs 3,008 crore to the state in lieu of ruling Trinamool Congress’ support to the historic Land Boundary Agreement to settle the border issue with Bangladesh.
The package, which had been sought by Banerjee, has been offered for rehabilitating inhabitants of enclaves in Bangladesh following implementation of the Boundary Agreement, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Lok Sabha.
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Moving the 119th Constitution Amendment Bill which will enable operationalisation of the 1974 India-Bangladesh Land Boundary agreement, Swaraj said its passage will help demarcate boundaries and send a message to neighbours that political parties in India are united when it comes to border sharing.
The bill was unanimously passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
“Mamata Banerjee wanted a package to rehabilitate the people coming from Bangladesh. We have given them a Rs 3,008 crore package based on estimation that 35,000 people will need rehabilitation,” Swaraj said.
Banerjee had on Tuesday said that she supports the Land Boundary Agreement Bill and wanted a package from the Centre to rehabilitate people who will come from Bangladesh. She estimated their number to be 60,000/70,000.
Swaraj said different estimates suggest that somewhere between 3,500 to 35,000 people would need rehabilitation and the Rs 3,008 crore package is based on estimation that 35,000 people would come to West Bengal. This fund would give the state the capacity to adjust these people, the External Affairs Minister added.
Referring to passage of the bill by Rajya Sabha, she said, “This has sent a message to Bangladesh that political parties in India do not have divergent views. The unity which was witnessed in the Rajya Sabha, if the same will be seen in the Lok Sabha then a very good message will be sent to Bangladesh.”