GUWAHATI, July 31 - Heavy floods and severe erosion have caused severe hurdles in the functioning of the Border Security Force (BSF) deployed along the India-Bangladesh border to guard the frontier of the country. The situation has even forced the BSF to shift some of its border outposts (BOPs) to safer places. However, on the positive side, the strength of the river wing of the BSF in Dhubri sector has been increased, which resulted in overall improvement of the functioning of the border guarding force during the floods.
Highly placed sources in the BSF told The Assam Tribune that flood along with erosion are turning out to be major problems for the personnel of the border guarding force. Almost all the BOPs located on the chars along the international border have been submerged, making life miserable for the personnel of the force. Because of severe erosion, at least six of the 17 BOPs located on the chars have been shifted and these are now operating from vessels. However, sources said that despite the hardship, the BSF personnel are carrying on patrolling along the riverine international border with speed boats and engine fitted boats specially hired for the purpose.
Sources revealed that the water wing of the BSF has been strengthened, which has improved the overall performance in guarding the riverine international border. The strength of the wing has been increased to two battalions and along with that, the number of speed boats available with the wing has also been increased. The increase of the strength of the wing has been very helpful in the area, particularly during the floods.
Though cattle smuggling through the riverine international border is still a major headache for the personnel of the BSF, for the last one week or so, because of heavy floods, smuggling has come down. Sources said that normally, the smugglers take cattle from one char to another before pushing them across the international border, but as most of the chars along the border have now been submerged, it has become difficult for the smugglers to indulge in such illegal activities. However, the BSF has not lowered its guard and a close watch is being maintained.
Sources disclosed that a good number of BOPs located along the land border have also been submerged forcing the BSF personnel to stay in knee deep water inside the camps. The equipment including weapons has to be kept in raised platforms and as the water supply facilities have been affected, drinking water is being provided to the camps from the nearby towns. Sources admitted that the possibility of outbreak of diseases among the BSF men staying in such condition for months cannot be ruled out and doctors and paramedical staff are visiting the BOPs regularly.
However, as the border road is constructed at a higher place, patrolling has not been affected , but in some places, the roads leading to the international border have been submerged, which affected movement of the BSF men. In a few places, the fencing and the bases of the fencing, particularly in Mankachar area, are eroded, which need immediate attention as those need to be repaired as soon as possible.