GUWAHATI, Feb 23 - Proper implementation of the Prevention of Infiltration of Foreigners (PIF) scheme could have checked illegal migration to a great extent, but unfortunately, over the years, due importance was not given to ensure that all the components of the scheme are executed. Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the PIF scheme, which was originally called the Prevention of Infiltration of Pakistanis (PIP) scheme, was conceived by the Intelligence Bureau and it is said to be the brainchild of the then director of the Bureau, BN Mullick. The scheme was prepared to check illegal migration of Pakistani nationals into India. After the liberation of Bangladesh, the scheme was renamed as the Prevention of Infiltration of Foreigners (PIF) scheme.
The scheme was launched in 1962 and in the initial stages, the Border Police Organisation managed to carry out a commendable job and detected and deported a large number of Pakistani nationals who managed to infiltrate into Assam illegally. But after the liberation of Bangladesh, the implementation of the PIF scheme failed to get due importance from successive governments, both at the Centre and in the State. However, on the positive side, in recent times, steps have been initiated to strengthen the Border Police Organisation, which functions under the scheme.
Sources revealed that as per the original plan, a security screen was to be established for physical check and control over the villages near the international border with erstwhile East Pakistan so that any new entrant cannot escape unnoticed. The watch posts of the Border Police force operating under the scheme should have kept detailed reports of the villages along the international border and records of the persons living in those areas. Sources said the watch posts should have even kept records of any girl who came to settle in the villages after marriage.
Sources pointed out that as any illegal migrant would have to pass through the villages along the international border, it would have been difficult for them to settler in such villages before spreading out to other parts of the State if the scheme was implemented properly. But unfortunately, no government cared to ensure thorough implementation of the scheme to ensure that all records of inhabitants in the villages along the international border are maintained properly and many of the watch posts now do not have any such record. Way back in 1967, a scheme was launched to keep the photographs, and thumb and finger impressions of Pakistani infiltrators so that any person who tries to reinfiltrate after his or her deportation, could be checked. But that was also discontinued.
Moreover, in 1999, a decision was taken in a tripartite meeting involving the Central and State governments and the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) to create a strong second line of defence behind the BSF to improve border management and the Centre also agreed to provide required funds for it. But after some initial works, the scheme was also not implemented properly for the reasons best known to the successive governments in Delhi and Dispur.