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Sensor fences to check influx

Silchar, Dec. 17: Electronic “eyes” or sensors will soon replace fences on a couple of stretches along the India-Bangladesh border as part of a bid by the Centre to step up the drive against illegal influx into Assam from the neighbouring country.

Assam governor J.B. Patnaik revealed this to senior BSF officers during a visit to border areas in Karimganj district yesterday, a BSF source said. Senior district administration officials and police and BSF officers had accompanied the governor, who also surveyed the border from the air.

According to the source, Patnaik told the officials that the Union home ministry had already cleared the plan for two border stretches in Dhubri and Karimganj districts. He said a high 49.34-metre-long electronic sensor fence would be installed between Dhubri and Sisumara along the border, as physical fencing is not possible on this stretch as it is prone to flooding and erosion.

Patnaik also told the officers that one more BSF battalion would soon be deployed along the 128-km Cachar-Karimganj border, taking the number of battalions manning that stretch to four.

The governor lamented the fact that though the norm for the distance between the two border outposts of BSF along the country’s international borders was 3.5km, the distance between two outposts in the Cachar-Karimganj sector was 4.1km.

Patnaik, who landed at Silchar airport yesterday, made an aerial survey of the land between Karkhanaputhni and Suterkandi in Karimganj district and later drove to Jabainpur near Karimganj town where he had a glimpse of the collapsed eight-foot-high border fence which had fallen into the Kushiara following erosion.

The source said the governor also disclosed that measures to check the ingress of counterfeit Indian currency across the border would be further beefed up with introduction of a machine by Reserve Bank of India to quickly identify fake notes.

Inspector-general of the BSF’s Cachar-Mizoram frontier A.C. Thaplial and deputy inspector-general U.C. Hazarika, among others, accompanied the governor during the visit.