NEW DELHI, Sept 27 - Reiterating his government�s commitment to completely seal the Indo-Bangla border, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday formally pleaded with the Centre to hand over the border fencing construction to the Indian Army as was done in the case of the Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sonowal today called on Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and informed him that he had personally visited the Indo-Bangla border areas in Dhubri sector in South Salmara Division. The total length of the Indo-Bangla border is 280 km in Assam, out of which a 71-km portion is unfenced in patches. A 60-km stretch within this unfenced portion is riverine that requires specialised technology to completely seal the border, the Chief Minister said.
Sonowal also renewed his demand for additional Central paramilitary forces to maintain law and order in the State in the coming months. The Chief Minister also discussed with the Union Home Minister about the possibility of raising an Indian Reserved Battalion in the State. The Union Minister asked the State Government to place a proposal for the same and assured that the initial fund for raising the force will be provided by the Central Government.
The Chief Minister had on July 8 during his meeting with the Union Home Minister underscored the need for Central forces. He explained that additional forces were provided to Assam after the last ethnic carnage and a large number of fixed pickets and camps of security forces were set up in the vulnerable areas. These were continuing till the recent elections, but after the polls, 75 companies of Central forces were withdrawn from Assam which may have an adverse impact on the law and order situation. These 75 companies need to be restored to Assam, Sonowal had demanded.
The Chief Minister today also called for immediate extension of the term of Foreigners Tribunals for five more years. Sonowal said that at present 100 Foreigners Tribunals are functioning in Assam of which 64 were created in 2014 in compliance with the Supreme Court directions for a period of two years. As the validity of these Tribunals has expired on February 9, the Chief Minister requested the Union Home Minister to extend the validity of these Tribunals for smooth settlement of the foreigners� issue.
Terming the NRC update in Assam as a historic process, Sonowal requested the Home Minister for early release of fund for its speedy implementation. The Chief Minister said that the State Government has already submitted a revised proposal of Rs 882 crore to the Union Government considering the huge scope of NRC works.
He also said that the State Government had earlier submitted a proposal for Rs 489 crore to the Union Government for NRC update against which Rs 288 crore was released. Informing the Union Minister about the progress of NRC update process, the Chief Minister said that a total of 68.21 lakh families have applied for inclusion in the updated NRC and a total of 6.67 crore documents are being verified.
Later talking to newsmen, Sonowal said that he had a detailed discussion on updating of the NRC and Singh has assured him that the Centre would extend all the necessary assistance. The Home Minister has also agreed to extend the validity of the Foreigners Tribunals, Sonowal informed.