|Principal secretary home Suresh Babu (extreme left) inspects the ongoing construction of the fence at Moreh along the Indo-Myanmar border on Monday. Picture by UB Photos
Imphal, Aug. 26: A high-powered committee today inspected the ongoing construction of the fence at Moreh along the Indo-Myanmar border.
The Manipur government constituted the committee, headed by principal secretary home, Suresh Babu, on August 12 after political parties, affected villages and citizen organisations raised objections to the location of the fence.
While the committee visited the construction site, the Opposition BJP demanded its immediate removal. “We do not need a committee to examine it (border fence). The fence has not followed international norms of construction at a distance of 10 metres from the zero line,” the president of the BJP’s state unit, Th. Chaoba Singh, said.
The committee, who members include inspector-general of Assam Rifles (South) Maj. Gen. Rajeev Chopra, Chadel deputy commissioner Th. Chittaranjan Singh and superintendent of police E. Priyokumar Singh, will verify the claims by village chiefs, citizens’ organisations and political parties that the fence was constructed inside Manipur land, bifurcating many villages.
It is built at distances ranging from 200 metres to 1km from the actual border.
A team of Committee on Protection of Land in Border Fencing — a conglomerate of citizens’ organisations, village chiefs’ bodies and organisations belonging to Kuki and Naga tribes — accompanied the government panel at the border.
The government committee inspected the fence, besides Govazang, a village bifurcated by the fence, and a site where Myanmarese army recently tried to construct a military post on the no-construction zone at Holenphai, 3km from Moreh.
Chaoba Singh said Myanmarese army tried to intrude into the no-construction zone because the Indian authorities were constructing the fence much inside Manipur’s territory.
The Union home ministry has already sought a report from the state government about the Myanmar army’s attempt to construct the post at a no-construction zone.
The committee’s visit came a day before governor Ashwani Kumar visits Moreh to take stock of the fence imbroglio.
The convener of Committee on Protection of Land in Border Fencing, Brozendra Ningomba, told The Telegraph over phone from Moreh that the committee urged the government panel to demarcate the border immediately to resolve the issue.
“We conveyed our opposition to the present fence,” he said.
Principal secretary, home, Suresh Babu assured the citizens’ body that the fence was meant only for security.
He said the committee would recommend to the state government and the home ministry for a Myanmar and India meet to settle all border-related issues. Manipur’s land will not be compromised, he added.