GUWAHATI, April 25 - The ambitious plan of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to have an integrated border protection grid to protect the international border with Bangladesh has started to take shape on the ground and the coordination between the stakeholders has improved considerably, said the Director General of Assam Police, Mukesh Sahay.
The plan of the Centre to have an integrated border protection grid was announced by the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh in a meeting with the Chief Ministers of the states having international border with Bangladesh.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, the DGP said that the grid has started taking shape on the ground and on its part, the Assam Police has started the process of capacity building to act as the second line of defence behind the Border Security Force (BSF) to improve guarding of the international border. However, at the same time, he admitted that the projects to improve river policing is cost intensive and it would take some time to implement all the plans chalked out in this regard.
The DGP said that the coordination between the Director General, Border, and the BSF has improved considerably on the ground, while, the coordination with other stakeholders including the intelligence agencies also improved a great deal. He pointed out that intelligence agencies have a vital role to play in improving border management and the police is in constant touch with such agencies. Assam has four districts having international border with Bangladesh and one officer of the rank of commandant has been posted in each of the districts along with one company of force. They will act as the second line of defence to improve border guarding. Activities like cattle smuggling have come down after the deployment of the second line of defence to work in close coordination with the BSF, he added.
Sahay said that efforts would be made to increase the strength of the second line of defence gradually in the days to come. He revealed that a proposal has been mooted to raise two more India Reserve Battalions and most of the manpower of the battalions are planned to be deployed for international border guarding.
The DGP admitted that international riverine border guarding is a tough job and though the BSF is guarding the border, there is need for capacity building of the river police force. He said that a survey of the chars located along the international border is on and the chars are classified as per vulnerability. He also admitted that policing in the chars is still very thin and it is a challenging job. Merely setting up new police stations on the chars would not be enough as such police stations would have to be provided with speed boats for free movement of the police personnel, he pointed out. He said that a few new speed boats have been procured for river police but such schemes are cost intensive and implementation of the schemes to increase the overall strength of the river police to improve policing along the rivers and on the chars might take some time.
Sahay further said that the Government of India is also planning to implement a smart fencing project with use of all modern available technology to improve guarding of the international border with Bangladesh.