The marshy, barren and treacherous terrain of the Rann of Kutch is coming in the way of speedy erection of barbed wire fencing along the Gujarat border with Pakistan to prevent infiltration.
Fencing work along the Indo-Pak border is almost complete in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan but the work here is going on at a slow pace due to the terrain.
“The fencing work is going on here but is slow paced due to the unique feature of this Rann of Kutch where the ground give away any time,” DIG BSF Vishnu Dutt said.
The Rann of Kutch is inundated with water from May to September. Afterwards, some patches remain wet though some places look dry but actually have slush underneath and the ground may give away any time, Mr. Dutt said explaining the topography of the Rann.
Standing at pillar number 1175, the last recognised border post between India and Pakistan which is just a few kilometres from Lakhpat, one can see white border pillars from where Pakistani territory begins.
Out of the 340 kms sanctioned construction of road and fencing on the Gujarat border with Pakistan, 219 km road has been constructed so far and the fencing at the stretch has been completed. The work is being carried out under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
As per the MHA website, around 121 km of fencing and construction of road work is yet to be completed.
Under the Central government initiative, work to secure the border road is being taken up and a barbed wire fencing is being erected on the side of the road with a view to stop infiltration as well as smuggling of arms and drugs.
Floodlights are also being installed along the border. The Centre has tripled the budget of fencing along the international border from Rs 380 crore to Rs 1,201 crore.
Another difficulty in erecting the fence is the presence of ‘Harami Nallah’, a drain running along the border.
“It is very difficult to say when the fencing work of the Rann of Kutch border will be completed. We are making sure that the perfect road and fencing are built on the border and that is the reason that work is going on slow here,” Mr. Dutt said.
BSF commandant I P Bhatia said, “Once the road and the fencing along with floodlights are installed, it will be a great relief for BSF men to move in the terrain which is inaccessible during May and September”.