SHILLONG, Sept 27 - Indian and Bangladeshi authorities today admitted to the presence of cattle smuggling syndicates in both the countries.
During the biannual Inspectors General-Region Commanders Coordination Conference here, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) said both the forces were coordinating with each other to bust the syndicates in their respective territories.
A large number of cattle are smuggled from India to Bangladesh and most of the routes used by the smugglers are in Meghalaya and Assam.
Additional Director General of BGB Md Zakir Hossain said, �We have identified cattle smuggling as a trans-border crime and we are taking measures to control it.�
Hossain said both the BSF and the BGB had agreed in principle to prevent cattle smuggling. The BGB official, however, added that Bangladesh now produces enough livestock for its domestic consumption, which logically should have discouraged such illegal activities.
Inspector General of BSF�s Meghalaya Frontier Kuldeep Saini informed that the BSF had to keep the cattle heads seized along the border in its custody till the court orders their handing over to the police.
He said this additional responsibility of keeping the cattle in its custody and maintaining constant vigil is affecting the other responsibilities of the BSF.
Currently, there are 430 cattle in the custody of the BSF, Meghalaya Frontier.
Moreover, the issue of illegal extraction of boulders from the Umngot river in Dawki, West Jaintia Hills, by Bangladeshi nationals was raised by the Indian side.
The BSF authorities said there is extraction of boulders in hundreds of boats from Bangladesh from the river daily, which has resulted in diversion of its course.
�They (Bangladeshis) transport these boulders on their engine-fitted wooden boats,� a BSF official said.
Hossain assured that Bangladesh would not allow any unlawful activities on its soil, particularly the ones raised by the BSF. �The BGB will not allow illegal extraction of boulders,� he said.
Some of the other issues discussed in the meeting were illegal border crossing by both Indian and Bangladesh nationals, cross-border drug smuggling and the presence of camps of Indian underground outfits in Bangladeshi territory.
Incidentally, Bangladesh has always denied presence of any camps of Indian militant groups in its territory and during this meeting too, it remained steadfast on its stand.
�There are no Indian militant camps in Bangladesh,� the BGB official said.