Central agency needed for better security coordination: BSF chief

September 30th, 2008 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) Adding fresh ammunition to the controversy on creating a central security agency in the wake of recent terror strikes in the country, Director General of the paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) A.K. Mitra Tuesday admitted to lack of coordination among security organisations and called for the formation of a central agency.“There is lack of coordination in intelligence sharing. Often forces feel reluctant to share information among each other,” Mitra, who retires Tuesday, told reporters here.

“Perhaps we should have a central agency on par with the US home land security department that collects information for all other agencies and passes it to others,” Mitra said, pointing to recent terror attacks across the country.

He said bomb blasts were now occurring in every corner of the country and terrorism had spread to the hinterland.

Both the government and the opposition have been fighting each other over the issue of creation of a central agency for some time. Senior home ministry officials say some states are vehemently opposed to the idea as they feel that their powers would be curtailed. Law and order is a state subject under the Constitution.

Mitra, who is being succeeded by Special Secretary (Internal Security) M.L. Kumawat, said this year there were three incidents of cease-fire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Another more worrying trend is emerging. Now terrorists are sneaking into the country across the International Border (IB). It was not the practice earlier. Till July they have attempted at least six times and were successful twice,” he said.

He said there is a strong possibility that Pakistan Rangers provide covering fire to militants when they try to sneak into India. “According to one report, at least 149 militants crossed the border this year.”

The outgoing BSF chief said there was a fall in infiltration along the India-Bangladesh border due to fencing and a large number of firing incidents.

“From Bangladesh, it is mostly economic infiltration comprising those wanting a better life and those who smuggle cattle, drugs, consumer goods and the like… while from Pakistan it is subversive material,’ he said.

According to an estimate, more than 1.2 million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are staying in the country.

Mitra said the Pakistan border was “much more hostile” and “sensitive” as compared to the one with Bangladesh.

The BSF chief also showed concern over rise in smuggling of counterfeit Indian currency from across both Pakistan and Bangladesh borders.

“It is most worrying. The rise of counterfeit Indian currency smuggling has been reported from both the borders. The quantity of fake notes is more from Bangladesh but the quality is much finer of those notes coming in from Pakistan,” Mitra said.

On Monday, the BSF seized fake notes of Rs.2.5 million notional value in Rajasthan. Mitra said the traffickers pay the border villagers in fake currency for their services. The amount is generally small and the chances of counterfeits being detected in villages are always less.

Mitra said even the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) were severely hit due to fake currency notes.

“Once their officers received Rs.200,000 in fake Bangladeshi currency as part of their salaries. This (curbing counterfeit currency) is the only area where BDR cooperates with us more,” he said.

Mitra said he had no plans to take any other job post-retirement and would “go home and play golf”.

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