Assam, India (BBN)-A commission constituted by the Indian Supreme Court in May to make an on-the-spot assessment of the Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam has recommended creation of a “sterile zone” along the riverine boundary to check the influx of illegal migrants from the neighbouring country.
The recommendation came due to the porosity of the 55-km stretch of the border that passes through the Brahmaputra and cannot be fenced, reports The Indian Express.
The commission suggested relocation of people living along that part of the border.
It also called for institution of a high-powered committee to probe the alleged complicity of government officials in facilitating various benefits to the infiltrators.
“A particular stretch from the International Border should be converted into a sterile zone, devoid of human habitation,” the commission, comprising senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika, said.
The recommendation was made specifically for the border in Dhubri district in Assam.
The report said while the Assam government was yet to give its comments on the suggestions, the Border Security Force (BSF) was in favour of the zone — 150 metres to 500 metres wide — along the border.
“This will be a very effective step to stop illegal infiltration and border crimes,” the report, submitted to the apex court earlier this month, said.
“Co-existence of Indian and Bangladeshi villages on the international boundary without any fencing makes it a porous border, which is acknowledged by both the Centre and the state,” the report said.
The report pointed out that while there was a barbed wire fence along the land portions of the IB, many water bodies, bridges and culverts made it vulnerable to infiltration.
In the Dhubri sector, there were 50 unfenced gaps of which 34 were culverts built for nullahs.
The Silchar sector had 76 such gaps.
The panel also suggested instituting an independent probe into reports of illegal migrants entrenching themselves into Assam and acquiring voting rights and property with the connivance of officials.
It quoted a representation made by an NGO, which found through an RTI query that nearly 26,000 acre of government land in Sipajhar Assembly seat was encroached by people of doubtful origin and had 32 government schools and several health centres.
Though eviction orders were passed, they remained on paper, the report said.