SHILLONG, March 1 � Ahead of Union Home Minister Home (State) Mullappally Ramachandran�s scheduled visit to the Indo-Bangla border tomorrow, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that the international border in the Northeast has not been manned as efficiently as the Western Sector.
Ramachandran would be visiting some of the troubled sectors along Meghalaya�s 443-km international border with Bangladesh. Ramachandran said he would visit the areas to get a feel of the ground situation and also have a look at the ongoing fencing work. �We are trying to fence the international border to the best of our abilities,� the Home Minster said during his brief interaction with the media here.
There is opposition along some portion of the border areas in Meghalaya to erect the fence from zero line. The Home Ministry said that discussions were on at the highest level with Bangladesh to be flexible on this bilateral issue.
Sangma on the other hand said that the north-eastern border with Bangladesh has not been manned by the border guards as desired and Meghalaya has demanded intensified patrolling by BSF along these vulnerable areas.
�The north-eastern border has not been as stringently manned unlike the Western Sector. So we have requested the Home Ministry to ask the BSF to intensify their patrol,� the Chief Minster added.
Due to Meghalaya�s insistence for better border management, the Home Ministry had recently deputed BSF�s Special Director General to visit the international border in Meghalaya sector as a priority, Sangma said.
Meghalaya has moreover requested the Home Ministry to raise a �Home and Hearth battalion� to be the BSF and the local border population�s go-between in the State. �The battalion would be raised from local population who would have better understanding of the local issues,� Sangma said adding, it would also help local youths to get employment.
The BSF in Meghalaya is not sharing a good rapport with the local population in certain border areas of the State. People in the border areas repeatedly complain of harassment by BSF men. As a result, there has been a constant demand for the Home Guard to be posted along with the BSF in these areas so that local issues could be better handled.
Ramachandran, meanwhile, said he would not comment whether the BSF would be encouraged to use rubber bullets along the international border to minimise casualties.