After a delay of more than two years, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has finally agreed to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s request to acquire 300 acres of land in the state and give it to the Centre for construction of barbed wire fencing along the India-Bangladesh border, it was announced on Friday.
The Centre had requested the state government to provide land to strengthen border grid and stop infiltration of Bagladeshi and Rohingya people, as well as prevent smuggling along the international border.
The latest move, officials said, came after Singh wrote to Banerjee and requested her to hasten the process by state government officials. India shares a 4,096-km border with Bangladesh, 2,216 km of it in West Bengal.
The Home Minister had sent similar letters to Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura and Bihar, which helped resolve pending issues related to acquisition of land in these states, the official added.
On Friday, Singh reviewed the progress of various projects being undertaken along the international border with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.
He was informed during the meeting that various projects got delayed due to non-availability of environmental clearances from state governments. The minister is learnt to have asked officials present to pursue the matter with the governments concerned.
Singh also reviewed the progress of ongoing projects executed by the Land Ports Authority of India and the border management division under the Home Ministry.
According to a statement from the ministry, there was good progress and integrated check posts (ICPs) at five border-crossing points out of seven approved projects have been completed.
Terminals for smooth movement of goods and people at ICPs at Raxaul and Jogbani on India-Nepal border, Petrapole and Agartala ICPs on India-Bangaldesh border and Attari ICP on India-Pakistan border have been made functional, according to the ministry.
At each ICP, facilities have been constructed for customs clearance, immigration, warehouses for storage of goods, approach roads and terminal buildings to adequately handle import and export of goods and entry and exit of people.
Work on Moreh ICP on India-Myanmar border and Dawki ICP on India-Bangladesh border is in advanced stages of completion, and approved expenditure for the seven ICPs is over Rs 700 crore, the statement mentioned.
The Home Minister also directed officials to take up construction of additional 13 ICPs – at Hili, Jaigaon, Ghojadanga, Mahadipur, Changrabandha, Fulbari, Rupaidiha, Kawrpuichhuah, Panitanki, Sutarkandi, Sunauli, Banbasa and Bhithamore — and the passenger terminal at Petrapole, the ministry stated.