Dunes, floods bothering borders

Dunes, floods bothering borders
It is not just the infiltrators that trouble the security establishment on the Indo-Pak border. Nature, too, plays spoilsport sometimes.

The shifting sand dunes in the Thar Desert are damaging the border fence in Rajasthan, and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is now looking at ways to protect it. To add to the woes, floods have made floodlighting on a 118-km stretch non-functional.

The issues were highlighted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, whose members visited the spot and got first-hand information on the matter.

The panel said the fencing in the Thar region has proved to be ineffective in serving the intended purpose. It acknowledged that the BSF was considering the opting for dense plantation in the Jaisalmer border area to stabilise sand dunes.

Floating fences
However, the committee headed by Congress MP and former home minister P Chidambaram suggested that India could resort to floating fences, similar to what the United States has on the Mexican border.

“The committee in this connection would like to draw the attention of the ministry to a fence erected by the USA, on its border with Mexico. The area has a geographical terrain similar to the Thar, which can be repositioned mechanically to appropriate the border line, and, in effect, floats on top of the shifting sand dunes,” a member of the committee said.

The MHA has already discussed the damage caused to the fence with the Central Public Works Department.

‘Working on solution’
The department has been asked to carry out a geo-technical survey in the bordering area of Rajasthan. It is now “working on finding a solution”.

The MHA is also examining the possibility of a study to be done by a premier agency like the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

On the floodlights, the panel said there should be regular maintenance so that damage is minimal. In the flood prone areas, pre-emptive and protective steps should be taken to ensure that floodlights are not affected, it said.

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