Large parts of India-Bangladesh border to be floodlit

August 13th, 2008 - 12:47 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sujit Chakraborty
Agartala, Aug 13 (IANS) The India-Bangladesh border is going to be floodlit along a length of 2,840 km to check trans-border movement of militants, illegal immigrants and border crimes, says a home ministry report. The land border is already fenced with barbed wire. India shares a 4,096-km border with Bangladesh, of which 2,979 km is the land border and 1,116 km over rivers.

“The BSF has also installed sophisticated gadgets including thermal night vision device (TNVD) and telescopic guns (TG) besides trained dogs to further tighten their vigil along the country’s longest international border,” said Border Security Force (BSF) spokesman A.K. Singh.

The central home ministry report said that the government has decided to undertake floodlighting along that stretch of the India-Bangladesh border where barbed wire fencing has already been erected.

“The Rs.13.27 billion floodlighting project would commence soon and be completed by 2011-12,” the report added.

As a pilot project, 277 km of the India-Bangladesh border with West Bengal was floodlit two years ago.

India created a full-fledged border management department in 2004 under the central home ministry for the proper management of the country’s 15,107-km land border and coastline (including island territories) of 7,517 km.

The Indian government has stepped up vigil along its border with Bangladesh by increasing troop strength and setting up more border out posts (BOPs). Now it has decided to floodlight almost the entire land stretch of the border, except in a few hilly patches where it would not be feasible or effective.

“As per the recommendations of the Subrahmanyam committee report on the Kargil conflict, New Delhi has been working in strengthening security along the 4,096-km India-Bangladesh border,” said J.A. Khan, a BSF inspector general.

The committee, which was headed by security expert K. Subrahmanyam, was formed after the Kargil conflict in 1999.

“The distance between the two BOPs has been reduced from 15 km to about 4-5 km now and the strength of BSF battalions doubled,” Khan told IANS.

“Curbing activities and interests hostile to the country, facilitation of legitimate trade and commerce are among the principal objectives of border management,” the home ministry report added.

The border management department has also undertaken a Rs.3.82-billion scheme to set up seven Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) between India and Bangladesh at Petrapole, Hili and Chandrabangha in West Bengal, Sutarkhandi in Assam, Dawki in Meghalaya, Akhaurah in Tripura and Kawarpuchiah in Mizoram.

“These ICPs would house all regulatory agencies like immigration, customs, border security together with support facilities like parking, warehousing, banking, hotels, telecommunications, drinking water and sanitation in a single complex equipped with all modern amenities,” the report added.

According to the report, the government has already approved a proposal for setting up of a Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) for supervision, management and maintenance of ICPs, which are also being set up along India’s border with Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal.

The bill on LPAI is being finalised and is expected to be introduced in parliament soon.

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