GUWAHATI, April 25 - Though the riverine international border with Bangladesh is still considered the most vulnerable, it will take more than two years to plug it through �technological solutions� as the real works in implementation of the project will start only after assessing the success of the pilot project being implemented in Jammu along the India-Pakistan border.
According to a status report on border fencing in Assam, prepared by the Border Management Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Assam has around 48.11 km of riverine international border with Bangladesh, which could not be plugged by physical barriers. After reviewing various possible measures to deal with the problem, the Government of India decided to go for �technological solutions� to tackle with the problem of infiltration through the riverine border.
The report said that the Border Security Force (BSF) has initiated a pilot project in Jammu sector in India-Pakistan border for testing the various technologies available globally for border security and surveillance, which include optical fibre cables, radars, underground and under water sensors, cameras etc. The pilot project is likely to be completed by August this year and afterwards, it would be used in other vulnerable stretches of the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh border including Assam.
The Border Management Department is of the view that the entire process including testing of the equipment, floating of tenders, commissioning of the equipment, etc., would take some time and it is expected that the completion of the project would take 22 months from the completion of the pilot project.
However, at the same time, the report admitted that the timeline was worked out keeping the best case scenario in mind where everything goes according to plan. The timeline is tentative in nature and may change in case of any untoward incident like floods, soil erosion, litigations in tendering, public protests and any other scene which cannot be foreseen.
Giving a detailed account of the various studies conducted to plug the riverine international border, the report revealed that a committee was set up with members from the State Government, BSF, CPWD, etc., to study the issues and suggest measures. The members of the committee visited the international riverine border areas to examine the feasibility of covering the riverine stretch through physical and non physical barriers. The committee was of the view that around 17.47 km of fence can be constructed in the riverine stretch on the char lands, which would also be modular in nature and the bottom row of the fence would have to be removed during the floods. The committee also suggested construction of nine border outposts on well foundation and 41 sentry towers on pile foundation in the riverine area. The committee further suggested covering of the riverine area through technological solutions like day and night vision digital cameras, surveillance cameras, flood lights etc. However, at the same time, the committee pointed out that construction of border outposts and sentry towers on the river would require detailed hydrological study.