| Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi at Satrasal in Dhubri district on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Sonahat (Dhubri), Sept. 18: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who visited the Indo-Bangladesh border in Dhubri district today, said cattle smuggling was not as rampant and infiltration not as serious as alleged by the Opposition.
Gogoi arrived at Rakhalpat helipad and drove to Sonahat and then to Satrasal pillar No. 1001, a tri-junction of Assam, West Bengal and Bangladesh border. Sonahat is 55km and Satrasal is 70km from Dhubri town.
“About 2,000 cattle were seized and 28 Bangladeshis were apprehended last year. So it is not as serious as often alleged by the Opposition parties,” Gogoi said.
He said the BSF was trying its best to counter trans-border smuggling and infiltration. Increasing the strength of BSF personnel deployed along the border takes time and it will be done in a phased manner, he added.
The chief minister said he had come to the border sector not only to inspect the fencing but also to see the development of villages in the area. He said he wanted to ensure equal development in the border areas.
He held a meeting with district officials and interacted with villagers at Sonahat. He instructed the officials to expedite all-round development in the area, including roads, agriculture, education and irrigation projects.
The chief minister inspected the on-going work of an international trade centre at Lakhimari in Sonahat.
He took stock of the measures initiated to strengthen the border fencing, construction of border roads, setting up of 793 flood lights and installation of 28 generators.
“A lot of development work has to be done,” he added.
Gogoi, who was accompanied by BSF deputy inspectors -general, Ajai Singh (Dhubri sector) and P.C. Sharma (Guwahati), and border areas development secretary G.D. Tripathi, surveyed the barbed wire fencing erected along the border from Sonahat to Satrasal.
The DIGs pointed out to the chief minister the land outside the fence where Indian villagers cultivate.
Of the 134km border in the Dhubri sector, 73.868km of roads and 78.977km of fencing have been completed, DIG Singh said. He told Gogoi that regular meetings were being held with their Bangaldesh counterparts and that relationship between the two sides was “very cordial”.
The president of the Dhubri district unit of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (Intuc), Shyamal Sanyal, submitted a memorandum to Gogoi at Sonahat, demanding opening of closed factories, setting up of new industries, increasing wages of workers, life insurance policy for all labourers, registration of names and addresses of workers engaged in organised and unorganised sectors, jobs for the workers and payment of bonus to labourers before festivals.
Dhubri deputy commission Kumud Chandra Kalita and superintendent of police Mridulananda Sarma also accompanied the chief minister.