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Expedite fencing work: BSF

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, May 31 � The pace of construction of fencing along the Indo-Bangla border should be expedited and the Government must provide photo- identity cards to the Indian citizens living in the vulnerable sections of the border, said the outgoing Inspector General of the Assam-Meghalaya frontier of Border Security Force (BSF), Prithvi Raj. He also admitted that the vacancies in the force are turning out to be a major problem for the border guarding agency.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Raj, a Himachal Pradesh cadre IPS officer, who is going back to his parent cadre after completing his tenure in the border guarding force, said that the overall security scenario in this part of the country improved considerably following the improvement of the relations with Bangladesh and he hoped that the scenario would improve further in the days to come. He expressed the hope that with the BSF in the process of strengthening the troop deployment along the border, the border management would also improve in the days to come and a new Frontier Headquarters of the border guarding force in Guwahati has already been sanctioned and it is likely to be in place by next year.

The BSF IG said that the pace of construction of the fencing should be expedited and floodlights should be installed along the fencing. The BSF is coordinating with the agencies involved in construction of border fencing and the concerned State governments to ensure that the pace of construction is expedited. He admitted that there were some problems in construction of the fencing in Meghalaya because of agitations by some organizations and the BSF is in regular touch with the State government to deal with the matter.

Raj said that the BSF has been stressing the need for providing photo identity cards to the citizens living near the international border to improve border management. He said that though it would be a national project, priority should be given on the Dhubri sector as because of the ethnic similarity of the people living on both sides of the border, it is impossible to detect a Bangladeshi national if he manages to sneak into India. He further said that the concerned State governments should take immediate measures to improve the condition of the roads leading to the border to facilitate free movement of the troops to the border and the BSF has already taken up the issue with the State governments.

The BSF IG said that vacancies in almost all the battalions are another major problem as filling up of the vacant positions take a long time and adds extra burden on the troops on the border. He revealed that the overall vacancy position is around 10 to 12 percent, which is a big number considering the fact that the men on the ground are already overburdened. He also expressed the view that the process of developing infrastructure for the troops along the border should be expedited.

Commenting on the performance of the troops along the border during his tenure as the IG of the Assam-Meghalaya frontier, he said that deployment of one additional battalion early this year in the Tura sector, once considered vulnerable to movement of anti-national elements, improved the scenario considerably, while optimum utilization of the modern equipment like the hand-held thermal imagers, monocular, night vision devices, etc., acted as force multipliers and improved the performance of the force.

Raj, who took over as the IG of the Assam-Meghalaya frontier in February last year, admitted that border management was a new experience for him and in this sector, the main task of the BSF included preventing infiltration of both foreign nationals and anti-national elements and movement of contraband items. He said that the civic action programmes taken up by the BSF helped a great deal in getting the support of the people living near the international border, which resulted in improved performance of the BSF. He said that in the past one year, the BSF managed to apprehend more than 50 anti-national elements along the border and in the counter-insurgency operations, while 17 hardcore militants surrendered before the BSF.

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Expedite fencing work: BSF

GUWAHATI, May 31 � The pace of construction of fencing along the Indo-Bangla border should be expedited and the Government must provide photo- identity cards to the Indian citizens living in the vulnerable sections of the border, said the outgoing Inspector General of the Assam-Meghalaya frontier of Border Security Force (BSF), Prithvi Raj. He also admitted that the vacancies in the force are turning out to be a major problem for the border guarding agency.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Raj, a Himachal Pradesh cadre IPS officer, who is going back to his parent cadre after completing his tenure in the border guarding force, said that the overall security scenario in this part of the country improved considerably following the improvement of the relations with Bangladesh and he hoped that the scenario would improve further in the days to come. He expressed the hope that with the BSF in the process of strengthening the troop deployment along the border, the border management would also improve in the days to come and a new Frontier Headquarters of the border guarding force in Guwahati has already been sanctioned and it is likely to be in place by next year.

The BSF IG said that the pace of construction of the fencing should be expedited and floodlights should be installed along the fencing. The BSF is coordinating with the agencies involved in construction of border fencing and the concerned State governments to ensure that the pace of construction is expedited. He admitted that there were some problems in construction of the fencing in Meghalaya because of agitations by some organizations and the BSF is in regular touch with the State government to deal with the matter.

Raj said that the BSF has been stressing the need for providing photo identity cards to the citizens living near the international border to improve border management. He said that though it would be a national project, priority should be given on the Dhubri sector as because of the ethnic similarity of the people living on both sides of the border, it is impossible to detect a Bangladeshi national if he manages to sneak into India. He further said that the concerned State governments should take immediate measures to improve the condition of the roads leading to the border to facilitate free movement of the troops to the border and the BSF has already taken up the issue with the State governments.

The BSF IG said that vacancies in almost all the battalions are another major problem as filling up of the vacant positions take a long time and adds extra burden on the troops on the border. He revealed that the overall vacancy position is around 10 to 12 percent, which is a big number considering the fact that the men on the ground are already overburdened. He also expressed the view that the process of developing infrastructure for the troops along the border should be expedited.

Commenting on the performance of the troops along the border during his tenure as the IG of the Assam-Meghalaya frontier, he said that deployment of one additional battalion early this year in the Tura sector, once considered vulnerable to movement of anti-national elements, improved the scenario considerably, while optimum utilization of the modern equipment like the hand-held thermal imagers, monocular, night vision devices, etc., acted as force multipliers and improved the performance of the force.

Raj, who took over as the IG of the Assam-Meghalaya frontier in February last year, admitted that border management was a new experience for him and in this sector, the main task of the BSF included preventing infiltration of both foreign nationals and anti-national elements and movement of contraband items. He said that the civic action programmes taken up by the BSF helped a great deal in getting the support of the people living near the international border, which resulted in improved performance of the BSF. He said that in the past one year, the BSF managed to apprehend more than 50 anti-national elements along the border and in the counter-insurgency operations, while 17 hardcore militants surrendered before the BSF.