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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BSF Malda Frontier Shifted to Chhattisgarh Following Land Crisis

MALDA, 22 JAN: The crucial Malda frontier of Border Security Force (BSF) has been shifted to Chhattisgarh following scarcity of land and Malda sector of the BSF came under the Kolkata frontier from yesterday. Winding up of Malda BSF frontier has again raised the question regarding the land acquisition policy of the state government.

It may be mentioned that the Malda frontier of the BSF was formed by the Union home ministry in 2010 including parts of Murshidabad, entire Malda and both Dinajpur districts to strengthening the vigil and security along the India-Bangladesh border. Areas from Khandua in Murshidabad district to Fulbari in North Dinajpur was under the perview of the Malda frontier that also included the Indo-Bangla border of Malda and south Dinajpur. The office of the Inspector General (IG) was temporarily lodged at Narayanpur area of Old Malda.

Subsequently Malda and Raiganj sectors of the BSF were also formed. The frontier had 11 battalions of the BSF and 150 border out posts (BOPs).  However, the BSF officials opined a number of times that it was not enough to protect the huge area of Indo-Bangla border running along the four districts. It was learnt from the BSF officials that only 400 kilometer of the Indo-Bangla border had thorn-fencing. Out of rest 250 kilometer long border 150 kilometer was water y areas and 100 kilometer was unprotected.

Hence, the BSF officials felt the requirement of one more sector and 90 BOPs to maintain vigil along such areas. It may be mentioned that Malda has been used by the smugglers, fake currency peddlers and even the militants who tried to use Malda as the transit point. Recently, arrest of one Badal Sheikh, an alleged militant once again proved the vulnerability of Malda. Even the district is considered as the red corridor in the assessment of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as learnt from sources.

Formation of Malda BSF frontier yielded a huge result to curb smuggling and peddling of fake currencies in last two years. It has been learnt from sources that in 2012 alone fake currencies worth more than Rs 1 crore were seized in Malda and more than 150 peddlers were arrested.

But as the frontier did not have its own office with the due infrastructure land of 100 acre was sought from the state government. Some BSF officials informed that despite several reminders the state government did not arrange the required amount of land for them. Sources said that the government left the matter to the district administrations. Though both the BSF officials and the district administrations preferred silence in this regard, it has been learnt that the land identified by the BSF for their frontier, sector and BOPs included a large quantity of farm-lands which was not possible for the district administrations to acquire under the present circumstances.

Following the crisis of land recently the BSF frontier from Malda was transferred to Raipur in Chhattisgarh. All staff, equipments and the vehicles of the Malda BSF frontier have already been sent to Raipur by a special train already. DIG of BSF Mr Amarjit Singh said that owing to several reasons the Malda frontier had been shifted to Raipur but the sector would function as usual. “Now onward the Malda sector would function under Kolkata frontier,” he said.

In the context of shifting of the Malda frontier it is being apprehended by the senior police officials that the activities like peddling of fake currency, smuggling even the militants may be encouraged though they refused to speak anything officially in this regard.

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