Top BSF officials today met Union Home Secretary-designate Anil Goswami and raised the issue of land acquisition,which is proving to be a major hurdle for border works in the state.
At least 10 proposed battalion headquarters and eight border outposts of the BSF have not come up because of opposition from farmers under the banner of Bhoomi Ucched Birodhi Committee,BSF sources said. In some cases,the farmers are demanding higher prices than those originally agreed upon.
Goswami,who arrived in Kolkata today,met the top brass of the BSF as well as the state administration. Those present at the meeting,held at the BSF headquarters here,included Special DG (East),BSF,B D Sharma; Chief Secretary Sanjay Mitra; Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee; DGP Naparajit Mukherjee; DG,coastal police,Raj Kanojia; and Land and Land Reforms Commissioner A K Singh.
Goswami,who will take over his new assignment on June 30,also met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. They had a one-on-one meeting in her chamber at Writers Buildings for about 10 minutes.
The BSF had proposed to build about 10 batallion headquarters in 10 districts of West Bengal,and for that they sought land from the government. Each of the battalion headquarters needs about 40 acres. None of the projects could come up because farmers raised objections.
The state government is averse to any sort of forcible acquisition of land. Sometimes the state government goes in for land acquisition for a BSF project but after some time some of the farmers demand a higher price of land than was originally agreed upon,and the government backtracks. The BSF is for defence of the country. If the state government does not want to play any role,the security of the country is in jeopardy, a BSF official told The Indian Express.
Although it could not be known what transpired between Mamata and Goswami,the home secretary is presumed to have raised the issue with the CM and sought her intervention.
The BSF is not the only force to be affected by land acquisition problems. The Indian Express has learnt that a railway project at Bishnupur in Bankura district had to be wound up because of non-availability of land.
The BSF also raised the issue of trade in Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) with Goswami. Out of 100 FICNs in circulation in the country,40 originate from Malda district,which is the place where the FICNs are brought from Bangladesh. There were also discussions on cattle smuggling,smuggling of drugs like Phencydil,border fencing,energising of border lights,etc, Home Secretary Banerjee said after the meeting.