SHILLONG, March 13 - One of the most common routes of cattle smuggling to Bangladesh is an unfenced terrain of 30-odd km in Pynursla in East Khasi Hills, but this would change soon as people of the area have agreed to allow fencing on the international border.
Pynursla is 50 km from the State Capital and sits on the Bangladesh border adjoining Sylhet district of that country. Further down south of the constituency is Dawki which falls under Amlarem constituency, West Jaintai Hills.
Some of the areas in Pynursla have been known for cattle smuggling and the BSF has routinely seized large herds of cattle in the area. Complicity of locals cannot be ruled out and this is one of the several factors why fencing was opposed over the years.
�The Deputy Commissioner, officials from National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) and traditional heads recently conducted a survey of the unfenced area and they all agreed that the 30 odd kilometre needs to be fenced to stop cross border crimes in the area,� Prestone Tynsong, Minister in-charge, Border Area Development and local MLA said.
The fencing was opposed on the pretext that villagers would lose land to Bangladesh once it comes up. But, Tynsong and the others managed to reason with the villagers that they were at greater risk without the fence.
The Minster said Bangladeshi gangs have time and again looted in the Indian side taking away Cattle and agriculture produce from the area. �These gangs numbering not less than 100 penetrate into the Indian side and take away whatever they get their hands onto. If the fence comes up this would stop,� Tynsong added.
Once the point was driven home and the people agreed on fencing they have, however, has requested the Home Ministry that the fence should be erected as close to the Bangladesh border as possible.
By protocol defence establishments like fences have to be erected 150 yards away from the border. But, in special cases like in Pynursla the Home Ministry has agreed that it would try its best to convince Bangladesh to erect the fence closer to the border, Tynsong said.
Meanwhile, vast stretches in Dawki, where the Integrated Check Post is being created remains unfenced. A number of NGOs in the area now wants the realignment of the International border with Bangladesh and have stopped fencing work.
Meghalaya shares 443 kms of International border with Bangladesh. However, this stretch has increased to 444.857 kms after implementation of land boundary agreement between the two Nations.
Out of this total stretch of the International Border, 324 km have been fenced. The remaining 125 km remain unfenced due to land issue, objection from Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and other local issues like opposition from NGOs and local people as in Pynursla.