Kolkata: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh blamed the West Bengal government for delay in fencing along the India-Bangladesh border. Singh said the Home Ministry had notified the West Bengal government to acquire land so that fences could be constructed along the border between the two nations.
"Part of the fencing is pending in India-Bangladesh bordering areas in West Bengal. We had held a meeting with the state government officials and they had assured that they will acquire land on which the fence was to be constructed. There is no delay from our side. If there is a delay, it is on the part of the West Bengal government," said Singh.
He was speaking at Assam’s Dhubri district while inaugurating the smart fence or the BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) under Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) on Indo- Bangladesh border.
West Bengal shares 2216.70km of its border with Bangladesh. Of the total 2216.70 km, 913.080km falls within in South Bengal frontier of the Border Security Force (BSF), of which 374km is fenced and 538km is unfenced. The portion of the border falling under the North Bengal frontier is also unfenced.
Experts claim that land acquisition is a major obstacle in constructing these fences. Despite the West Bengal government setting up a committee to acquire land, the delay seems that the 2019 deadline is likely to be missed.
Sources in the BSF say that a fence is the only way to put a check on cattle smuggling across the border. "There are some vulnerable spots through which the cattle smuggling takes place. These are mostly near the unfenced border. If we need to keep a check on cattle smuggling besides smuggling of illegal arms and fake Indian currency notes (FICN), fences need to be constructed," said a BSF officer on conditions of anonymity.