India’s CCS Extends Slow-Moving Bangladesh Border Fencing Project To 2019

Measuring 4,096 km, India shares its longest international border with Bangladesh. Yet much of it is unfenced resulting in a high rate of illegal immigration from across the border.

The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by PM Modi has cleared projects worth Rs.4,400 crore to build infrastructure critical to security along the border.

The decision was taken last week, reports The Hindu, but no announcement of the same was made.

The CCS has cleared around 200 km of fencing along the border and given an extension to the project till 2019.

Sanction has also been given to construct a 400-km road in the border areas. The road, once constructed will help in better mobility of troops.

Fencing is especially essential because of illegal immigration of Bangladeshis into India and the increasing use of the porous border areas for smuggling.

Just yesterday, on October 14, the BSF nabbed a man with nearly a kg of gold and discovered fake Indian currency notes of the face value of nearly Rs.13 lakh.

The man was arrested at Petrapole Integrated Check Post and the money was found at Sasani border outpost in Malda district.


Indo-Bangladesh Border

A border stone in Meghalaya. Ritu Raj Konwar/The Hindu

Till August, the Border Security Force intercepted 1,731 Bangladeshi nationals trying to cross over illegally into India.

The fencing project has faced delays due to multiple reasons ranging from land acquisition to rough terrain.

During the previous NDA government, 850 km of the border was fenced in the first phase, while 1,900 km fencing was done in the second. But Indo-Bangladesh border fencing has seen very slow progress over the years.

Much of the border remains unfenced or has fences of just three meters high. In yesterday’s Malda fake note case, the BSF says that they were thrown in a plastic bag across the fence into the Indian side.

“A BSF team challenged some miscreants who tried to pick up the packet. But they fled taking advantage of foggy weather,” said a BSF officer.

Since much work needs to be done, a high-level empowered committee will reschedule the balance work and will expedite land acquisition in consultation with the State governments.


Unfinished fence

An unfinished border fence in Dhubri, Assam. Ritu Raj Konwar/The Hindu

The border with Bangladesh runs along West Bengal (2,216.7 km), Assam (263 km), Meghalaya (443 km), Tripura (856 km) and Mizoram (318 km).

In May this year, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh wrote to the respective Chief Ministers asking them to expedite land acquisition so that fencing could be completed in these States.

On June 07, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sealed a landmark agreement with Bangladesh to exchange tiny enclaves where thousands of people from both countries have been trapped for decades.

The agreement is expected to benefit around 50,000 people from both sides and check immigration.

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