GUWAHATI, April 9 - The Assam Government has initiated a move to go for satellite survey of the chars in addition to physical verification of those riverine areas, while steps have also been taken to increase the strength of the river police force to improve policing there.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Director General of Assam Police, Mukesh Sahay said that physical survey of the chars has already started, while the government is in touch with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for satellite survey so that a clear picture of the char lands in the State can be obtained.
The DGP said that there are around 20,000 chars in the State, a good number of which are of permanent nature and thickly populated. He admitted that for years, the chars were virtually out of the security radar and the police and security forces did not have information about the people living there.
The State police chief said the possibility of a number of foreign nationals, criminal elements and other such antisocial elements living in the chars cannot be ruled out, while radical elements also can take shelter in these areas by taking advantage of lack of security cover there.
Sahay said that to ascertain the credentials of the people living in the chars, a project to go for physical verification of the chars has started and so far, around 8,000 chars have been surveyed. Even senior police officers, including the DGP himself, visited the chars as part of the scheme and the process is on to verify all the chars as soon as possible.
The DGP revealed that during verification, police found that a good number of inhabitants of the chars have left for different states of the country like Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. �We have to coordinate with the police forces of those states to assess what they are doing there. We must ascertain whether they are falling prey to the designs of the radical elements in those states,� he added.
Sahay said steps have already been initiated to increase the strength of the river police force to improve policing in the char areas and new speed boats have been acquired. He said that till the proposed new battalions are raised, the second line of defence in the four districts having international border with Bangladesh has started operating under an officer of the level of commandant of police and they are now working in close coordination with the Border Security Force.