The Bangladesh-India joint boundary conference ended on Wednesday in Dhaka leaving dispute on the boundary line on the River Kushiara that entered Bangladesh through Zakiganj of Sylhet from the Indian state of Assam.
The Indian delegation, led by surveyor general of India Lieutenant General Girish Kumar, demanded fresh survey before fixing the international boundary line on the trans-border river, department of land records and survey officials said.
‘The Assam survey office director in a sectorial meeting held in Cox’s Bazar in September 2016, however, requested the director general of the DLRS to send the modality based on the Radcliffe Line of 1947, which we proposed to consider as the baseline, for its finalisation in the government level meeting,’ the DLRS official said adding that the agency sent the modality to the Indian government in 2017 through diplomatic channel.
‘It was expected to fix the boundary line in this third joint boundary conference. But, the Indian side wants a fresh survey before fixing it as the river deviated a little towards Bangladesh from its flow in 1947,’ the official said adding that the Indians on the other side of the river made its bank higher by dumping silts.
The Kushiara in Sylhet divides Bangladesh and India in over 30 km border, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan general secretary Sharif Jamil told New Age. ‘The river is eroding its bank on the Bangladesh side in 15 to 20km-long area for the siltation of the Surma,’ he said.
The border on the Kushiara is the second outstanding issue with India after the Muhuri River that entered Feni from the Indian state of Tripura.
The dispute on the Muhurir Char on the river, however, was not an agenda at the conference held from December 23 to 25 at the state guesthouse Meghna, DLRS DG Md Taslimul Islam said.
‘The high-ups of the two governments will negotiate the issue,’ Taslimul Islam said.
‘We would continue negotiation with the Indian survey office on the Kushiara River, and four other trans-border rivers of the southwest regions named Ichhamati, Kalindi, Raiganga and Haribhanga,’ he said expecting to solve the disputes in the upcoming fourth joint boundary conference scheduled in next August in Delhi.
Claiming the conference a success, Taslimul, the head of Bangladesh delegation, said that both the countries had finalised the border on the Sonai River.
Both the delegations also agreed to conduct joint survey for mapping of the Ichhamati, Kalindi, Raiganga and Haribhanga, he said.
From next January, he said, the joint survey committee would work for the joint inspection, repair, restoration and construction of the boundary pillars along Bangladesh-India Boundary.
‘Design and specification for bringing the uniformity of different types of pillars were finalised in the meeting,’ he said adding that both sides had fruitful discussions on global navigation satellite observation systems of the boundary pillars and on the up-gradation of the strip maps using high resolution satellite imageries.
They said that the correction of the country name from Pakistan to Bangladesh of over 4,000 pillars in the southwest and western part of the country would be done gradually from January.
Praising the hospitality of the Bangladesh side, Lieutenant General Girish Kumar, while signing the minutes of the conference, said, ‘We all appreciate the kind gesture and the hospitality extended by the Bangladesh side.’
‘We don’t have any major dispute with Bangladesh and hope the friendly negotiations and cooperation will continue for ensuring sanctity of the border,’ he added.
Representatives of different agencies of the both countries were also present.
Bangladesh shares 4,156-kilometre-long border with five Indian states.
DLRS keeps border records with the Indian states named Pashchimbanga, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura while Survey of Bangladesh keeps records on the border with Mizoram.
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