Guwahati, Sunday, November 11, 2012
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BSF asked to step up riverine vigil: Shinde
Kalyan Barooah
 NEW DELHI, Nov 10 Under pressure to seal the Indo-Bangladesh border, Union Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde has directed Border Security Force (BSF) to urgently step up vigil on the Brahmaputra river bordering Bangladesh, besides opting for electronic surveillance.

I have instructed the concerned agencies to address all the gaps because of the riverine terrain urgently through technology, so as to ensure better surveillance. I have also instructed the Border Security Force to enhance the surveillance on the Brahmaputra river, Shinde said on Saturday, presenting his monthly report.

A high level delegation led by DG, BSF has been deputed to Israel to see the technological development for border surveillance in such areas, the Home Minister further added.

The Union Home Minister last month had gone on a two-day tour to the Indo-Bangla border to make a first-hand assessment following a hue-and-cry over the unabated illegal migration from across the border.

I visited the Indo-Bangladesh Border from October 19. I started from Dhubri in Assam and then travelled by boat for an hour covering about 40 km in river Brahmaputra crossing riverine Border Out Post (B.O.P) Mahamayachar and landed at Shishumara B.O.P. Thereafter I travelled by road alongside international boundary and inspected the fencing, floodlighting and border roads, before taking off from Mankachar, he said.

Shinde further mentioned the Home Secretary-level discussions held between India and Bangladesh, when several issues including illegal influx and militancy figured. The 13th meeting of the Home Secretaries of Bangladesh and India was held on October 16-17 at Dhaka, he said.

The issues relating to security, border management, enhancement of cooperation of law enforcement agencies on smuggling of arms and narcotic drugs, construction of ICPs-LCSs within 150 yards of Zero Line, increased joint patrolling to curb criminal activity along the border, mechanism of regular consultation between the DC-DM of border districts for resolving the local issues, cooperation for apprehension of wanted criminals, liberalisation of visa precedence were discussed.

The implementation of Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Combating Terrorism, Agreement on Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking, ratification of Land Boundary Agreement (LBA)-1974 by the Government of India and protocol signed in 2011, were also discussed, he said.

About the Internal Security scenario of the North-east, Shinde said that a new Border Liaison Office (BLO) has been set up in Arunachal Pradesh Sector at Changlang in Arunachal Pradesh vis--vis Pan Hsuan (Myanmar).

The first meeting of Border Liaison Officers (BLOs) was held on October 30, 2012 at Changlang to work out the modalities for operationalisation of BLO.

As reported India and Myanmar have been firming up plans to mount a crackdown on insurgents operating from Myanmar. Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh have become a hotbed of insurgent activities.

The two districts border Myanmar and are used by the militants as a passage. Further, the Naga militant groups have strengthened their position in the two districts, prompting the State Government to press the alarm bells.

In the current year up to October 31, 186 extremists were neutralised in police encounters. During the same period 1836 extremists were arrested and 1165 surrendered before the state authorities, the Home Minister reported.

About the progress of the border works, Shinde reported that Government has sanctioned 27 ITBP priority roads along Indo-China border totalling 804 km against which 557.30 km formation and 175.36 km surfacing have been completed as on date.

At least 50 km of floodlighting work was completed during the month of October along the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Further, an outlay of Rs.990 crore has been earmarked in the budget of 2012-13 under Border Area Development Programme and the same has been allocated to the 17 border states. Against this an amount of Rs. 752.45 crore has already been released to all the 17 BADP states as first installment, the Home Minister said.

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