GUWAHATI, April 23 – The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has admitted that checking illegal migration from Bangladesh is a major challenge considering the porous nature of the international border.
In its annual report, the MHA said that the Indo-Bangla border is marked by high degree of porosity and checking illegal cross border activities is a major challenge. The report said that the border consists of plains, riverine areas, hills and jungles. Moreover, the area is heavily populated and cultivated right up to the border.
India has 4096 kilometres of international border with Bangladesh, of which, 2216.7 kilometres is in West Bengal, 263 kilometres in Assam, 443 kilometres in Meghalaya, 856 kilometres in Tripura and 318 kilometres of international border is in Mizoram.
The Government of India has sanctioned an amount of Rs 1327 crore for installation of flood lights along the international border to improve border management. The MHA report said that a pilot project of installation of flood lights in 227 kilometres of international border in West Bengal has been completed successfully and three Central Government organizations have been entrusted with the responsibility of installation of flood lights along the international border.
The report revealed that the Government sanctioned construction of fencing in 3436.59 kilometres along the international border in two phases and of that 2760 kilometres have been completed. In Assam, construction of fencing was sanctioned in 230 kilometres and 221 kilometres have been completed.
The construction of the fencing along some stretches of the international border was delayed due to various reasons like the hostile terrain, presence of population within 150 yards of the international border, delay in land acquisition and protests by the people living near the international border.
The report further revealed that much of the fencing completed in the first phase in the states of West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya were damaged due to adverse climatic condition and the Government of India has sanctioned replacing of fencing in 861 kilometres at a cost of Rs 884 crore. So far, around 790 kilometres of fencing constructed in the first phase has been replaced, the report added.