Govt accepts Opp move on border sealing Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, Jan 7 – The threat to the security of the nation because of the porous international border with Bangladesh was one of the major points of discussions in the Assam Legislative Assembly for the second consecutive day today and the Government accepted the Opposition’s proposal that the House should adopt a resolution to demand immediate sealing of the Indo-Bangla border. The Government also accepted the Opposition’s demand that an all-party team of the House should meet the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to put pressure on them to expedite the process of sealing of the international border.
Raising the issue by calling the attention of the Government to news reports in this regard, Girindra Kumar Baruah (AGP) expressed the view that the sovereignty of the country is at stake because of the failure of the Government to seal the international border. He pointed out that the Centre adopted a step-motherly attitude in this regard and said that the international border with Pakistan in the states of Punjab and Rajasthan were completely sealed way back, but this was not the case with the North East. He said that the process of construction of border roads and fencing started only after the signing of the Assam Accord and the Centre did not take such steps on its own, which was very unfortunate. He expressed the view that only sealing of the Assam-Bangladesh border would not help and the entire Indo-Bangla border must be sealed.
Baruah pointed out that Assam has become a corridor of anti-India forces to enter India from their bases in Bangladesh and said that several terror attacks in different parts of the country in recent years were linked back to Bangladesh. Even in the Parliament attack, some of those involved entered India from Bangladesh through Assam, he added. He said that people have settled even in the no man’s land along the international border and those places have become dens of terrorists and smugglers. One former DG of the BSF admitted that if the infiltration is not checked, the identity of the North East would be at stake, while, a task force on border management reported that 1.50 crore illegal migrants were living in the country. “Some of the political parties do not want to make public statements on the issue because of the fear of losing votes,” he lamented.
Baruah pointed out that recently the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also admitted the threat posed to the security of the nation because of the porous border and infiltration of foreigners. He said that the State Government must put pressure on the Centre to expedite the process of sealing of the international border and if necessary, the Indira-Mujib pact should be amended in the interest of the nation. If a small country like Bhutan can deport over one lakh Nepali population, there is no reason why a big country like India cannot take action to seal the border and to detect and deport illegal migrants, he said. He also suggested that the State Assembly should adopt a resolution to demand that the process of sealing the international border should be expedited.
The PWD Minister, Ajanta Neog said that the State PWD was entrusted with the responsibility of construction of border roads in a length of 206 kilometres along the international border and it completed 199 kilometres of it and it is not possible to construct roads in around five kilometres. She said that the PWD was entrusted to construct fencing in 183 kilometres and it completed175 kilometres and it is not possible to construct fencing in six kilometres. She told the House that the PWD would be able to complete the work entrusted to it by March this year.
The Minister-in-charge of Assam Accord Implementation, Dr Bhumidhar Barman said that the State Government is keen on sealing of the border with Bangladesh and the State PWD has almost completed the job entrusted to it. However, he said that border disputes and land in adverse possession of Bangladesh created problems in some parts and the State Government has requested the Centre to take up the issue with Bangladesh Government. He said that two Central Government organizations, NBCC and NPCC are also engaged in sealing of the border and “we review the progress from time to time. However, sometimes, senior officers of the organizations do not attend the review meetings and send junior level officers, who have very little information.”
Several other members including Leader of the Opposition Chandra Mohan Patowary, Keshab Mahanta of the AGP and Ranjit Dutta of the BJP also demanded that the House should adopt a resolution to demand immediate sealing of the border and reiterated the demand for an all party team meeting the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to put pressure on them in this regard. Both Dr Barman and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bharat Chandra Narah accepted the demands.