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The dreams of people living in 111 erstwhile enclaves have become true, while the successful exchanges of such lands in adverse position, created new hope following massive developments in last three years of the once closed communes, report BSS.
“The people of erstwhile enclaves are amazingly happy of getting more than expectations,” Golam Mostafa, General Secretary of defunct India-Bangladesh Enclave Exchanging Coordination Committee told BSS.
The life standard of over 37,000 people has improved in former enclaves following implementation of massive uplift projects by the government at a cost of Taka 200 crore in addition to other programmes implemented by other organisations.
“Mainstreaming of former enclave people has already taken place following incredible developments,” Mostafa said adding that mainland people, perhaps, needed over four decades to whiteness similar uplift for them. Divisional Commissioner Kazi Hasan Ahmed said the government took massive uplift programmes for mainstreaming former enclave people soon after implementation of the historic Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) as per Mujib-Indira Accord of 1974.
After exchange of the 162 erstwhile enclaves between Bangladesh and India on August 1, 2015, the government allocated Taka 200 crore when different departments, banks, NGOs and other organisations started implementing massive uplift programmes, he added.
Hasan said all families of 12 former enclaves in Kurigram, 59 in Lalmonirhat, 4 in Nilphamari and 36 in Panchagarh have got massive infrastructural developments, electricity, hygienic sanitation, pure drinking water and all other civic facilities like in mainland.
“Besides, the government has provided trainings, loans and assistance to unemployed male and female youths for income generations and allowances to widows, older citizens, disabled people, sub-stipends to female students and other facilities,” he said.
Regional Farm Broadcasting Officer of Agriculture Information Service Abu Sayem said Department of Agriculture Extension implemented ‘Comprehensive programmes at a cost of Taka 1.75 crore in three years to modernise agriculture in the enclave areas.
Dimla Upazila Nirbahi Officer Nazmun Nahar said, “Life style of all 119 families of four former enclaves in Nilphamari has changed after getting electricity, safe water, sanitation, communications, education, healthcare and all other facilities.”
Farmer Faridul Islam, 55, of former enclave Nagar Zigabari in Domar upazila of Nilphamari said they have got own country, citizenship, ownership of land, smart cards and facilities for education of their children and everything to lead happy life.
Julekha Begum, 30, mother of two children of village Kalirhat in Dashiarchhara said she was earning well to lead better life after getting training on tailoring and a cost-free sewing machine.
Former Chairman of Garati enclave in Panchagarh Mofizar Rahman said all families of 36 former enclaves have got electricity, 32 schools, colleges and madrashas have been set up along with massive infrastructural developments in last three years. Afsana, a student of class eight of Rajmahal High School at former Garati enclave in Panchagarh said, “We are going to school riding on bicycles given by the government though it was impossible three years ago”.
Intermediate first year students Mahmuda Akhter and Runa Laila of Mofizar Rahman College at former Garati enclave said they were proud of attending classes regularly after becoming citizens of Bangladesh.
They expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her successful diplomatic efforts in implementing the LBA, giving them a new life to breathe in own country ending their ordeal of 68 years.
The cheerful people of the erstwhile enclave have chalked out two-day programmes since on Tuesday afternoon to on Wednesday to celebrate the third anniversary of their freedom.