With almost 1,899 km along Pakistan and Bangladesh borders yet to be fenced for want of forest clearances, land acquisition and permission of state governments, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is drafting the Border Infrastructure Bill. The Bill aims at tiding over the crisis of getting clearances for constructing border fences and roads.
For instance, India has added only a 2-km fence along the Bangladesh border in the past one year.
The draft Bill, being given final touches, has been cleared by the Ministry of Law but is unlikely to be introduced in the tenure of the present government. The Bill has been in the making for the past two years but, considering its importance, was expected to be fast-tracked during Parliament’s proceedings this year.
The draft Bill proposes a separate construction organisation headed by MHA to take care of land acquisition problems as well as environment hurdles in the way of border security.
West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram share their borders with Bangladesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh with Nepal, Gujarat, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan and Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir are close to the China border.
According to report of a Standing Committee headed by BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu, which was tabled in Rajya Sabha a few days ago, permission for construction of border roads along 95 km in Mizoram was stuck due to environment clearance.
“A stretch of about 59 km (Border Post 2305 to 2313) for construction of border roads along the Indo-Bangladesh Border falls within the territory of DTR, Mamit district in Mizoram and is pending forest/environment clearance. MoEF clearance is being expedited by the state government with the concerned State Wild Life Board (SWLB) and National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) keeping in view national security,” the report said.
An official said the Bill would ensure such clearances did not hamper construction along such strategic roads. Fencing of border in West Bengal (79.58 km), Tripura (11.31 km) and Mizoram (4.11 km) was stuck due to pending land acquisition.
In Meghalaya, construction on a stretch of about 133 km remained suspended for long due to protests by the Coordination Committee on International Border (CCIB) of Meghalaya. Following efforts by MHA, the matter in respect of 62.55 km has been sorted out and work has resumed.