Land acquisition, protests delay border fencing

Even as almost 90 per cent of the fencing along the India-Bangladesh border has been completed, work at several places has been hampered by delayed land acquisition, pending wildlife clearance and protests by locals.

Close to 300 km remain unfenced because of pending land acquisition and public protests.

Call to expedite work

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently took up the matter with the State governments concerned.

He asked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to expedite work, pointing out that land had not yet been acquired at 38 places in North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Dinajpur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar. Protests against the fence have continued in Murshidabad, Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar. In all, 90 km has not been fenced in the State. Furthermore, the government has not been able to construct border out-posts at 10 places because of pending land acquisition.

In a letter to Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Mr. Singh said fencing and road works along 88 km were yet to be completed because of pending land acquisition and public protests. The construction of BSF outposts has also been delayed.

In Mizoram, work could not be undertaken along a 60-km stretch in the Dampa Tiger Reserve owing to pending clearances from the National Board of Wildlife, which has demanded that the State transfer 1,520 hectares of non-forestland in compensation.

Work has not been initiated at eight places in Tripura owing to public protests, and land has not been acquired along four stretches.

The Union government faced a peculiar situation at Karimganj in Assam. While the proposed alignment of the fence along the town was initially at 30 metres from the bank of the River Kushiara, the State government felt that many inhabited areas might fall beyond the fence towards the Bangladesh side. Accordingly, in coordination with the National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited, a fresh exercise was undertaken for re-alignment of the fence at a five-metre distance from the river, separating Karimganj from Bangladesh.

A few days ago, the Ministry of Home Affairs filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, listing the measures taken to prevent illegal migration of Bangladeshi nationals. It said work was completed in 88 per cent of the area along the 3,224-km stretch where fencing was feasible.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 3:24:04 AM |

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