Wednesday, 23 November, 2022
HomeDefenceModi govt's Mamata headache: 600 km of Bangladesh border still unfenced

Modi govt’s Mamata headache: 600 km of Bangladesh border still unfenced

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Home ministry officials claim lack of cooperation from West Bengal may pose a hurdle in checking illegal immigrants, including Rohingyas.

New Delhi: The constant tussle between the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal seems to have affected work on securing nearly 600 km of Indo-Bangladesh border, home ministry sources told ThePrint.

Crucial work like border fencing and setting up of a mechanism to tackle the entry of illegal immigrants, including Rohingyas, have been hit due to lack of cooperation from West Bengal, the sources added.

Bangladesh shares a 4096.7-km border with India and so far, fencing work has been completed along a 3006.48 km stretch. Of the remaining 1090.22 km, almost 631.51 km falls in West Bengal alone, where no significant progress has been made. The government had set a 2019 deadline to complete the border fencing work.

“There have been several meetings in this regard but West Bengal government has maintained that land acquisition in these areas is becoming difficult, which is why the work to secure the border is being hampered,” an MHA official said.

“During previous meetings, they were given solutions to deal with the problem, but nothing has been done,” he added.

In Mizoram, on the other hand, only 4.17 km of area is left to be secured and Assam is catching up as well. “Meghalaya and Tripura too are on board,” the official said.

To discuss the issue and take a review of progress in other states, home minister Rajnath Singh on 7 December had a meeting with chief ministers of Mizoram, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal in Kolkata.

The issues discussed in the meeting included how to secure the border with Bangladesh by plugging gaps and completing fencing of porous areas.

“So far, security infrastructure of fence, roads, floodlights and border out posts (BOPs) are in place along the 3,006 km stretch. Work in the remaining 1,090 km is yet to start,” the official said.

Out of this, 684 km will be secured with fence and the related infrastructure, and the remaining 406 km with the non-physical barriers, the sources said.

“The home minister urged the CMs to expedite land acquisition process in the interest of national security. They assured to make land available at the earliest,” the home ministry official said.

There are rivers or nullahs where fencing is not possible. In these areas, technological solutions of a networked combination of electronic gadgets like radar, day-night cameras, various types of sensors, all integrated in a command and control architecture will be used, the official explained.

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