India and Bangladesh will start a major project to maintain and repair damaged pillars along the 4,096-km long Indo-Bangla border, said India Border Security Force (BSF) DG on Friday.
The decision was taken at the five-day bi-annual Director General (DG) level talks between the BSF and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) that was held in India.
BGB delegation, led by DG Major General Abul Hossain, went to India on October 2.
The border guard forces of the two countries will take care of the pillars on an “odd-even basis,” reports The Indian Express
Confirming the matter, India BSF DG Sharma said BGB has got an “in-principle approval” for conducting the task.
Sharma said: “We have been maintaining [border] pillars on the Pakistan side. We proposed to the government and the ministry of external affairs that we would want to do that on the Bangladesh side as well because the state PWDs, which were given the task of maintaining these pillars, were not doing a very good job.
“Consequently, the government with the concurrence of state governments has agreed to give this work to us and taking this as an example, the BGB has asked their home ministry to give this task to them.”
“We will maintain one [pillar] and the other one will be maintained by the BGB. Because of lack of maintenance, they [border pillars] are not in good condition…,” he added.
An Indian senior official said: “Some pillars will be repaired while some will be maintained, some constructed afresh and few re-constructed.”
The BSF chief said the project – to build a single-row fence in many places along the border – is underway. He added that they were waiting on Bangladesh government’s approval “for creating this fence at the remaining few locations.”
According to The Indian Express, the new fence is “aimed to secure” around 250 villages that fall between the International Border (IB) and a barbed wire fencing 150 metres away.
Sharma said: “It will stop criminal activities on both the sides [of the Indo-Bangla border].”
BSF also discussed “the issue of attacks on its personnel” by Bangladeshi criminals on the border at the meetings.
A senior Indian official said: “Other issues like prevention of trans-border crimes, expediting verification of nationality for early repatriation of Bangladeshi nationals found staying in India illegally and cattle smuggling crimes were also taken up by the BSF with the BGB.”
He added: “The BGB took up the issue of killing of Bangladeshis by the BSF apart from issues of narcotics smuggling.”
The next DG-level talks are expected to be held in Dhaka next year in February or March, he further added.