GUWAHATI, July 14 � Guarding of the riverine international border is an area of concern and the Government would have to adopt a mechanism to improve vigil in that area, admitted the Minister in charge of Assam Accord Implementation, Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Replying to a question by Padma Hazarika (AGP) in the State Assembly today, the Minister said that there is no physical barrier in 47.60 kilometre of riverine international border and though the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel are carrying out patrolling in the area, there is need for evolving a mechanism to guard the area. He said that an all party team of the House would be taken to the international border areas after the Independence Day to see the situation on the ground so that the legislators can offer their suggestions in improving vigil along the border.
Sarma said that the State PWD has almost completed the first and second phase of the fencing along the international border with Bangladesh. Only 0.840 km of fencing and 0.544 km of road remain to be completed and the work would be completed by December this year. The Government of India has entrusted NBCC and NPCC with the responsibility of relaying the fencing constructed in the first phase and the two organizations have informed the government that the work would be completed by 2012. If the PWD, NBCC and NPCC fail to meet the deadline, the Assembly can take action against the concerned officials, Sarma said. He also said that installation of flood lights along the border should be completed by the end of financial year 2012-13.
The Minister admitted that erosion has affected the fencing in some parts of the international border has posed a threat to the fencing and assured the House that the Government would take immediate steps to deal with the problem.
On the issue of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951, Sarma admitted that it is a sensitive issue and the Government would take into confidence all concerned including political parties and non-political organizations to prepare the NRC. The Government would require cooperation of all sections of people to complete the process of updating the NRC, he admitted.
Sarma said that organizations like the AASU must understand the sentiments of the people and the aim should be to achieve the goal of completing the process of updating the NRC and not the means to achieve the goal.
Earlier, raising the issue, Padma Hazarika (AGP) stressed the need for completing the fencing along the international border on time. He said that the Government of India should initiate talks with Bangladesh Government to settle the disputes.
Keshab Mahanta (AGP) also stressed the need for early settlement of the border disputes to complete the fencing.
Dr Bhumidhar Barman (Cong) said that erosion has posed a threat to the international border in some parts and immediate steps should be taken to check erosion.