Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh announced on Thursday that the border fencing work on the disputed areas with Myanmar between BP 80 and 81 had been stopped with immediate effect.
He said, “I had a talk with the Home Secretary on the controversy of the border fencing at disputed areas with Myanmar. It was agreed that the erection of the fencing in these disputed areas will be suspended. The Home Ministry is sending an instruction to the Manipur Chief Secretary. A high-level official team will be sent to hold talks with the Myanmarese counterpart”.
Mr. Biren further said that his government took a very serious view of the highly sensitive issue.
Recently, a fact-finding team of the United Committee Manipur (UCM) had visited the border areas between BP 80 and 81. It found that the fencing erection work was in full swing without any objections from India, notwithstanding the fact that the under- construction fence would take away between one to three km of Manipur’s land. To draw the attention of the State and the Union Government, the UCM had started protests.
The Chief Minister has maintained that a border fence is necessary to check the widespread smuggling of fertilisers, drugs and other contraband items. Since Myanmar, which is part of the Golden Triangle, is Manipur’s neighbour the people had become easy target. The fencing would be erected once the dispute was sorted out, he said.
The work on the 10-km border fence had started near Moreh-Namphalong towns of India and Myanmar. However, it had to be suspended following objections by Myanmar saying that its territory had been encroached. Official sources said that international smuggling had been thriving along this border.