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Speedy steps needed to complete border fencing

By R Dutta Choudhury

KARIMGANJ, Oct 30 � The construction of fencing and availability of modern equipment has definitely improved border management in the Barak Valley, but because of the tough terrain, complete sealing of the international border is a Herculean task and efforts should be made to complete the fencing on war footing.

This correspondent recently visited the international border and found that the erection of two layer fencing has been of great help to the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel in managing the international border. Barak Valley has around 128 kilometers of border with Bangladesh, of which 37 kilometer is riverine border.

The border fencing is complete in most parts where the international boundary is properly demarcated but because of the terrain, in some parts, the fencing has to be erected well inside the Indian territory. For example, just ahead of the Madanpur border outpost of the BSF, the fencing has been erected around 800 yards inside the Indian territory instead of the norm of construction of the fencing 150 yards inside India. However, the border pillars in the area are located on top of a hillock amidst thick jungle and BSF men manning the border themselves admitted that it would not be possible to keep a close watch on the fencing if it is erected on the slope of the hillock. �Construction of the fencing within Indian territory does not mean giving up the land as the pillars demarcate the international border and not the fencing,� BSF men pointed out.

Of course, the BSF has prepared a foot track to reach the hillock and a patrolling party is sent up to the pillars every day for patrolling in the area, which is not inhabited by people.

The BSF still has a problem in the Latitila-Dumabari area as the international border is yet to be demarcated because of the disputes and only a few white flags demarcate the working boundary. As people of both sides cultivate the land right up to the international border in the plains of the area, it is difficult to ensure sealing of the international border. Moreover, some parts of the area are covered with thick jungles and it is impossible to ensure that no one crosses the international border.

The international riverine border is an area of concern. The BSF has a fleet of speed boats and local boats are also hired from time to time to man the border, while, posts of the border guarding force are located all along the banks of the river to keep to keep a close watch. The boats of both the countries plying on the river have to carry national flags for identification and the fishermen of India have also been given identification papers so that they can be checked as soon as they reach the shores. But with boats of both the countries plying on the Kuchiara river, the possibility of persons crossing over from one boat to another in the middle of the river cannot be ruled out and it was also seen that some of the Bangladeshi boats were not displaying their national flags prominently. Interestingly, the middle of the river is the international boundary and it is not possible to strictly enforce it.

Meanwhile, providing modern equipment like night vision equipment acted as force multipliers for the border guarding personnel. The SLRs are being gradually replaced by the Insas rifles, which are considered easier to maneuver. But the night vision equipment including thermal imagers are of great help as these equipment pick up movement of any living object within a radius of three kilometers. This correspondent had the opportunity to use one such equipment on a dark night at the Steamer Ghat post of the BSF and found that the equipment is really useful in picking up any movement. A very bright spark appeared on the screen when a BSF patrol boat moved on the river and with the use of this equipment, the BSF men are now being able to detect any movement along the border at night.

Interestingly, the security on the other side of the border is very lax and the distance between the BOPs of the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) are much more than those of the BSF.

This correspondent also saw the improvement of relations between both the countries. During a visit to the Lafasil area, this correspondent came across a patrol party of the BGB. Those they were a little surprised to see unknown persons, they were very friendly. One of the BGB man, Fazal, said, �pray to God that we can live as friends forever without any problem.�

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Speedy steps needed to complete border fencing

KARIMGANJ, Oct 30 � The construction of fencing and availability of modern equipment has definitely improved border management in the Barak Valley, but because of the tough terrain, complete sealing of the international border is a Herculean task and efforts should be made to complete the fencing on war footing.

This correspondent recently visited the international border and found that the erection of two layer fencing has been of great help to the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel in managing the international border. Barak Valley has around 128 kilometers of border with Bangladesh, of which 37 kilometer is riverine border.

The border fencing is complete in most parts where the international boundary is properly demarcated but because of the terrain, in some parts, the fencing has to be erected well inside the Indian territory. For example, just ahead of the Madanpur border outpost of the BSF, the fencing has been erected around 800 yards inside the Indian territory instead of the norm of construction of the fencing 150 yards inside India. However, the border pillars in the area are located on top of a hillock amidst thick jungle and BSF men manning the border themselves admitted that it would not be possible to keep a close watch on the fencing if it is erected on the slope of the hillock. �Construction of the fencing within Indian territory does not mean giving up the land as the pillars demarcate the international border and not the fencing,� BSF men pointed out.

Of course, the BSF has prepared a foot track to reach the hillock and a patrolling party is sent up to the pillars every day for patrolling in the area, which is not inhabited by people.

The BSF still has a problem in the Latitila-Dumabari area as the international border is yet to be demarcated because of the disputes and only a few white flags demarcate the working boundary. As people of both sides cultivate the land right up to the international border in the plains of the area, it is difficult to ensure sealing of the international border. Moreover, some parts of the area are covered with thick jungles and it is impossible to ensure that no one crosses the international border.

The international riverine border is an area of concern. The BSF has a fleet of speed boats and local boats are also hired from time to time to man the border, while, posts of the border guarding force are located all along the banks of the river to keep to keep a close watch. The boats of both the countries plying on the river have to carry national flags for identification and the fishermen of India have also been given identification papers so that they can be checked as soon as they reach the shores. But with boats of both the countries plying on the Kuchiara river, the possibility of persons crossing over from one boat to another in the middle of the river cannot be ruled out and it was also seen that some of the Bangladeshi boats were not displaying their national flags prominently. Interestingly, the middle of the river is the international boundary and it is not possible to strictly enforce it.

Meanwhile, providing modern equipment like night vision equipment acted as force multipliers for the border guarding personnel. The SLRs are being gradually replaced by the Insas rifles, which are considered easier to maneuver. But the night vision equipment including thermal imagers are of great help as these equipment pick up movement of any living object within a radius of three kilometers. This correspondent had the opportunity to use one such equipment on a dark night at the Steamer Ghat post of the BSF and found that the equipment is really useful in picking up any movement. A very bright spark appeared on the screen when a BSF patrol boat moved on the river and with the use of this equipment, the BSF men are now being able to detect any movement along the border at night.

Interestingly, the security on the other side of the border is very lax and the distance between the BOPs of the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) are much more than those of the BSF.

This correspondent also saw the improvement of relations between both the countries. During a visit to the Lafasil area, this correspondent came across a patrol party of the BGB. Those they were a little surprised to see unknown persons, they were very friendly. One of the BGB man, Fazal, said, �pray to God that we can live as friends forever without any problem.�