PM: Will try to pass bill next session

On Board PM’s Special Aircraft, Sept. 25

Ahead of the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in New York, India on Wednesday said it will make another attempt to get the Land Boundary Agreement Bill passed by Parliament on the first day of the winter session expected in November.
“We came close to getting it passed in the last (Monsoon) Session but could not. We hope to do it on the first day of the next session”, a highly-placed source said about the LBA bill.
The remarks assume significance as it comes ahead of the meeting between Singh and Hasina on September 28 in New York on the sidelines of UN General Assembly during which the issue is expected to come up.
The bill, which provides for exchange of 161 adversely-held enclaves between India and Bangladesh, could not be taken up by Parliament because of strong opposition by some parties like Trinamul Congress, BJP and Asom Gana Parishad.
A constitution amendment bill is required to be passed by Parliament to ratify the LBA because it involves exchange of land. Bangladesh Parliament has passed the LBA long ago to give legal cover to the Indira-Mujib deal signed in 1974. The agreement is aimed at settling the long-festering issue of enclaves along the 4,069 km border between India and Bangladesh and is seen as an important confidence-building measure between the two countries.
Trinamul Congress has said it will not allow territories of West Bengal to be transferred to Bangladesh. Its leader Derek O’Brien, who had created a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha when an attempt was made to take up the Bill, said “it is not vanilla ice-cream”.
The government subsequently reached out to the party which set up a four-member committee to discuss the matter.

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