Par panel takes serious note on reduction of border posts

Par panel takes serious note on reduction of border posts

Par panel takes serious note on reduction of border posts
A parliamentary panel has taken strong exception to the government's move to reduce the number of new outposts along the Indo-Pak and the Indo-Bangla borders, saying such posts are crucial for the country's security.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, headed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, said no reasons were furnished by the home ministry on why the proposal to construct 509 additional border out posts (BOPs) in the two borders had been revised and reduced to 422. The panel recommended that the original plan of constructing 509 BOPs should be reconsidered in the interest of the country's security.

"Reducing inter-BOP distance is very crucial for the security of the country and to keep a tab on the activities going on at the border," the panel said in its report. In 2009, the government had approved a proposal to construct additional 509 BOPs along the Indo-Pak and the Indo-Bangla border at an estimated cost of Rs 1,832 crore. In 2016, the scope of the project was revised by the Cabinet Committee on Security from 509 BOPs to 422 BOPs.

At present, there are 609 BOPs along the 3,323 km-long Indo-Pak border and an additional 126 BOPs (including upgrading of 38 BOPs in Jammu) are to be constructed to reduce the inter-BOP distance to 3.5 km. There are 802 BOPs along 4,096 km-long Indo-Bangla border where the additional 383 BOPs were to be constructed.

The parliamentary panel said even the reduced target was not achieved and only 97 BOPs have been completed by the end of 2016 along the Indo-Bangla border. It has also taken serious view of the cost and time overrun due to delay in land acquisition. "The government should have taken advance action to overcome all such difficulties for timely implementation of the project," it said.

There will be barracks, generator room, kitchen, toilet block and officers' chamber in each of the BOP. The committee said it was anguished over the extremely slow pace of construction of fencing along the Indo-Bangla border as the home ministry has been able to complete just 21 km of fencing in 17 months since July 2015.

"The committee notes that a long stretch of 423.34 km has remained unfenced due to non-feasibility of physical barrier and deployment of non-physical barriers is still in its testing phase and will require time before its implementation," it said.