Tin Bigha Corridor
The Tin (or Teen) Bigha Corridor (Bengali: তিনবিঘা করিডর) is a strip of land belonging to India on the West Bengal–Bangladesh border which, in September 2011, was leased to Bangladesh so that it can access its Dahagram–Angarpota enclaves. It is based at Patgram upazila town.
According to the Indira Gandhi-Sheikh Mujibur Rahman treaty of 16 May, 1974, India and Bangladesh were to hand over the sovereignty of the Tin Bigha Corridor (178 by 85 metres (584 ft × 279 ft)) and South Berubari (7.39 km2 (2.85 sq mi)) to each other, thereby allowing access to the Dahagram–Angarpota enclaves and the Indian enclaves adjacent to South Berubari. Bangladesh did hand over the sovereignty of the smaller South Berubari to India instantly in 1974. India, however, could not transfer the Tin Bigha Corridor to Bangladesh as it required constitutional amendment which could not be done due to political reasons.
After much Bangladesh government protest, India, instead of handing over sovereignty in 2011, proposed to lease the Tin Bigha Corridor to Bangladesh for a certain time. South Berubari, meanwhile, would remain in the possession of India.
The total area of South Berubari Union No. 12 is 22.58 km2 (8.72 sq mi) of which 11.29 km2 (4.36 sq mi) was to go to Bangladesh. The area of the four Cooch Behar enclaves which would also have to go to Bangladesh was 6.84 km2 (2.64 sq mi) making the total area to be transferred 18.13 km2 (7.00 sq mi). The population of the area including the four enclaves to be transferred, as per 1967 data, was 90% Hindu. The Bangladesh enclaves, Dahagram and Angorpota, were to be transferred to India. Their total area was 18.68 km2 (7.21 sq mi) and as per 1967 data more than 80% of their population was Muslim. If this exchange had gone through, it would have meant a change of nationality for the population or migration of the population from Dahagram and Angorpota and South Berubari Union No. 12 and consequent serious rehabilitation problems. There were in any case major agitations by the people of Berubari protesting against the transfer.
After 1971, India proposed to Bangladesh that India may continue to retain the southern half of South Berubari Union No. 12 and the adjacent enclaves and, in exchange, Dahagram and Angorpota may be retained by Bangladesh. As part of the package a strip of land would be leased in perpetuity by India to Bangladesh, giving her access to Dahagram & Angorpota to enable her to exercise sovereignty on these two enclaves. This was accepted by Bangladesh as part of a carefully constructed Land Boundary Agreement signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 16 May 1974. The Berubari dispute was thus finally resolved by Article 1.14 of the Agreement which stated:
"India will retain the southern half of South Berubari Union No. 12 and the adjacent enclaves, measuring an area of 6.8 km2 (2.64 sq mi) approximately, and in exchange Bangladesh will retain the Dahagram and Angorpota enclaves. India will lease in perpetuity to Bangladesh an area of 178 by 85 metres (584 ft × 279 ft) near 'Tin Bigha' to connect Dahagram with Panbari Mouza (P.S. Patgram) of Bangladesh."
Access to corridor
The corridor was previously open for 12 daylight hours only, causing great hardships for the inhabitants of the enclave, given the fact that the enclave has no hospitals or law enforcement facilities.
Following a treaty signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh on 6 September 2011 in Dhaka, it was agreed that the corridor would be open for 24 hours for Bangladeshis in the enclave to access the mainland.
Until recently, the enclaves had no hospitals or colleges. Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina inaugurated a ten-bed Dahagram Hospital and the Dahagram Union Parishad Complex on 19 October 2011.
- Cover story
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