GUWAHATI, Oct 16 - In a major development, the Assam Government has decided to bring all the chars on the river Brahmaputra under surveillance. At the same time, the teams of legislators and officers, formed to visit the international border areas to assess the situation on the ground, have been asked to submit their reports with suggestions by November 15.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal revealed that according to government records, there are around 2,300 chars on the entire 740-kilometre stretch of the Brahmaputra from Sadiya to Dhubri, and till now, the char areas were not kept under any surveillance. He admitted that there have been allegations that a number of foreign nationals are staying in these areas, while there were reports of anti-national and antisocial elements taking shelter on the chars.
Sonowal said that to deal with all these issues, the government has decided to bring all the char areas under surveillance and the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police of the concerned districts have been directed to conduct a thorough survey of all these areas. The survey would include checking of the nationality and other antecedents of the inhabitants of the chars, the economic condition of the people, healthcare facilities, etc. He said that employment generation schemes would also be launched for the genuine Indian citizens living on the chars to improve their standard of living. Regular policing will be carried out on the chars to ensure that no anti-national and antisocial elements can take shelter on them, he added.
The Chief Minister said that the government is also planning to boost tourism on the Brahmaputra river and plans are being chalked out in this regard. Some of the chars can also be developed as attractive places for tourists, he pointed out.
On the reports of China blocking a tributary of the Brahmaputra, Sonowal said that he has already taken up the issue with the Government of India. It is up to the Centre to take up the issue with China to ensure that the flow of the Brahmaputra is not affected.
Sonowal said that sealing of the international border with Bangladesh is a priority of the government. He has already visited the international border in Dhubri and shared his experiences with the Union Home Minister.
�But our efforts will not end only with my visit to the border areas. We have constituted 10 teams comprising legislators and government officials to visit the international border areas to assess the situation on the ground and give their suggestions.
�The teams are expected to submit reports by November 15 and then the State Government will again move the Centre for effective steps to seal the border,� he added.
He asserted that the State Government would carry on such exercises till the border is completely sealed to prevent fresh infiltration of Bangladeshi nationals into Assam.