The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gogoi for Punjab fencing model

New Delhi, May 10: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has made up his mind to visit Punjab after the Lok Sabha elections and take a peek at the fencing along the international border with Pakistan.

“We will visit Punjab and take a look at the border fencing there. The Centre had said the Punjab model would be implemented in Assam. But nothing has been done as yet,” Gogoi told newspersons here.

The chief minister had recently accused Delhi of dragging its feet on sealing the state’s international border with Bangladesh. Gogoi believes that the fencing will help reduce infiltration from across the border.

Gogoi said the Centre has ignored his government’s request to speed up the project. “Delhi has, time and again, underscored the Punjab model for Assam. This probably involves double barbed-wired and electrified fencing. It is bound to discourage infiltrators from taking the risk of crossing over,” he added.

“Apart from the fencing on the border, the need for multipurpose identity cards for people in the state have been brought to the notice of the Centre,” Gogoi said.

The BSF, which guards Assam’s 262-km-long border with Bangladesh, has decided to install floodlights and thermal imagers — much like the ones put up along the Indo-Pak frontline.

Unlike in the northern states, the international boundary in the Northeast suffers from infrastructure bottlenecks, making the task of border patrol extremely difficult. Not much progress has been made, despite separate funds being allotted for border and hill areas development in the region.

The border areas of Karimganj, Goalpara and Dhubri are favourably placed for fencing, compared to the hilly terrain in Mizoram and parts of Tripura and Meghalaya.

Highlighting the necessity of roads along the border, Gogoi reiterated his demand for setting up more border outposts.

There is no largescale immigration to the state and a complete stop to illegal entry is not possible, he said.

“The last two census reports bear testimony to our claim and Assam’s population growth was below the national average.”

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