SONAHAT BORDER POST (ASSAM): Construction of a 76-km barbed wire fence on the border with Bangladesh in Dhubri district of Assam is in full swing. The fence, located 150 yards from the zero line, will replace the one erected in 1988.
The Home Ministry sanctioned the fencing in June 2006 in the third phase of the Indo-Bangladesh Border Roads and Fence project launched in 1986 to prevent illegal immigration.
“Out of the 76-km fence, 46 km is under construction north of the Brahmaputra by the National Projections Construction Corporation and the remaining 30 km south of the river is being constructed by the National Building Construction Corporation,” Hemant Desai, Deputy Inspector-General of the Border Security Force, told visiting mediapersons.
The Centre also sanctioned an additional Rs. 48.38 crore for fencing of island areas in the Brahmaputra, Gangadhar, Jinjiram and Kalu rivers.
“We have taken ample precaution this time as the fence is coming up on an elevated concrete base to withstand the vagaries of weather and floods,” Mr. Desai said. Nearly 50 km of the border in Dhubri district is riverine, while the remaining 84 km is marked by low-level plains prone to floods and water-logging.
Assam has 263 km of the border with Bangladesh, of which 134 km falls in Dhubri district.
Though the area remained peaceful, the BSF, which has 45 border outposts, including 17 in the riverine area, deployed three battalions to guard this border. “Contrary to popular belief, a modern, upgraded fence is actually tough to maintain. It not only reduces chances of illegal infiltration but also enhances accountability of the border guards,” Mr. Desai said.
To promote trade and business ties with Bangladesh, Commerce Ministry has taken steps to construct a Border Trade Centre in Sonahat. Sonahat had a metre gauge rail link to Kurigram in Bangladesh in the pre-Independence period but now only some remnants of the track are visible.