Fresh start: Enclaves get new PIN codes, police station

  • Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2015 17:36 IST
Children wave the Indian flag to celebrate the exchange of enclaves between India and Bangladesh. The exchange of 162 enclaves is taking place on July 31, 2015, marking the start of implementation of their landmark land boundary agreement. (Photo credit: Subhendu Ghosh)

Madhya Mashaldanga, Nazirhat II gram panchayat, Sahebganj police station, PIN 736134. This will be the new address of the residents of the erstwhile Bangladeshi enclave of Madhya Mashaldanga in Cooch Behar district.

Earlier this month, India and Bangladesh ended a four decades old deadlock and started implementing the land boundary agreement (LBA), which was ratified when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bangladesh in June. India handed over 111 landlocked islets, called enclaves, to Bangladesh and they returned 51 to India.

Days within becoming part of India, 14,856 residents of the former Bangladeshi enclaves have got new PIN codes and gram panchayat offices to address their needs to. They are also set to get a new police station.

“We are very happy to get PIN codes and a police station. None of us ever received a letter. It, indeed, feels like being in a changed world,” Alamgar Hosain of Madhya Mashaldanga said.

Among other enclaves, Kismat Bhatrigachhi has become part of Baro Simari gram panchayat, with the allotted PIN code 736135 and Poaturkuthi has been made part of Bamanhat I gram panchayat with the PIN code 736168.

“We have sent a proposal for a new police station at Sahebgunj and waiting for the approval,” district magistrate P Ulaganathan told Hindustan Times on Tuesday.

The proposed police station would have its jurisdiction same as Dinhata II community development block and is supposed to initially operate from a portion of the block development office at Sahebgunj, sources in the district administration claimed. With time, a new building will be raised for this police station.

“We have already started inviting tenders for different infrastructure development projects, including construction work for different facilities,” a senior official of Cooch Behar district said.

The Centre has allotted Rs 774 crore towards development of infrastructure at these new territories. Besides, the Centre has allotted separate funds for those people who are living in Bangladesh but have opted to come to India.

On Monday evening, the ministry of home affairs issued a clarification rubbishing rumours that the Centre may cut down on its promised funds.

At the erstwhile enclaves, the celebratory mood has refused to die down, as residents see that the ball has started rolling. Government officials from different departments are frequenting the areas to survey and plan, fuelling hopes of a better life for them.

Also read: We've finally seen light: Crowds cheer India-Bangladesh land swap
Life in the enclaves: After freedom, it's politics

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