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Mon, 27 Jan 2020

Northeast Today

Smart fences likely in 17 patches along Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya

Smart fences likely in 17 patches along Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya
January 14
10:42 2020

NET Bureau

Following repeated incursion by Bangladeshi nationals, the Centre has approved construction of 17 ‘smart fences’ along the Indo-Bangla border in the Meghalaya sector. However, a consensus with Bangladesh to build these fences is awaited.

BSF officials said the fences are “anti-climb and cut” – which means that intruders would find these fences extremely difficult to breach. “We have received the approval to build these fences. The contractor is ready, but we are waiting for an approval from the Bangladesh counterpart,” officials said.

These fences would be built in 17 patches along the Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya in areas which are not fenced. However, since these fences are proposed to be built within 150 yards of the international border, Bangladesh has raised objections.

According to the agreement between India and Bangladesh, no defence installation can be built within 150 yards and bilateral approval is needed. Based on this agreement, Bangladesh has raised objections. However, there have been exceptions and fences have been built right up to zero line.

BSF officials said the Bangladesh side has raised objections citing gaps in these smart fences. “They (Bangladesh side) are not willing, as the gaps in these anti-cut, anti-climb fences are very less. They have asked for wider holes in these fences. Still, we are communicating and hope they would agree,” the official added.

The objection was probably raised as close gaps in these holes make visibility across the fences minimum and security becomes a problem. But this issue was again raised by the Indian side during the BSF-BGB Director General-level talks held in New Delhi from December 25 to 30, 2019.

On the damage to the existing fences along the Indo-Bangla border, the BSF said minor repair works are being carried out regularly at the battalion level. However, for major repair work, contractors are called in through a tendering process and then the work is carried out.

A large number of these fences is likely to come up in the Jaintia Hills sector which has remained unfenced and is vulnerable to infiltration by Bangladeshi criminals. In this month, there were three attacks by Bangladeshi miscreants in which eight people including a BSF jawan were injured.

The BSF has taken up the issue with its counterpart, the Border Guard Bangladesh, to stop these frequent attacks and a flag meeting was also held in Dawki recently between the two sides.

Source: The Asssam Tribune

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