The Telegraph
 
CIMA Gallary

Security review along border

Jorhat, Aug. 22: The Jorhat district administration will carry out spot security and infrastructure review in areas bordering Nagaland, the move ostensibly triggered by the Assam-Nagaland border flare-up in neighbouring Golaghat district.

The review is likely to take place next month because the flare-up has not only cost lives but also exposed the near-lack of infrastructure on the Assam’s side of the border compared to development on the Nagaland side, a common complaint of Assam residents, apart from the lack of security.

The official team, comprising heads of all departments involved in development work, will visit the border areas from next month for the review and the team will be led by Jorhat deputy commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant and superintendent of police Amanjeet Kaur, sources said.

Solanki told The Telegraph that the administration planned to start an exercise to visit the remote and interior areas along the inter-state boundary to get first-hand knowledge of the security scenario and infrastructure status so that needful steps could be taken. The deputy commissioner said the administration was receiving complaints from various organisations and border residents about the lack of proper infrastructure and concern about their (border inhabitants) protection in view of some incidents of violence happening in the past few years.

“We want to go to the people in those interior areas and listen to their grievances and initiate the process to develop the infrastructure to fulfil their basic needs and also review the security arrangements,” Solanki said.

Stating that by undertaking such an exercise the confidence of the border residents is expected to get a boost, Solanki said top priority would be accorded to border development work.

The deputy commissioner said the proposed initiative was planned to be launched from the Naginijan tea estate area, off Mariani town, as it was very remote and had witnessed some sporadic incidents in recent years.

Jorhat, which shares a 101km boundary with Mokokchung and Wokha districts of Nagaland, has 13 border outposts and two more were coming up soon. There have been incidents of attacks on border residents reportedly from the Nagaland side, resulting in tension between the two states with road blockades often imposed against Nagaland by students’ organisations.

On Tuesday, the six-day-old economic blockade imposed by the Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association at Mariani against Nagaland following border violence at Uriamghat in the adjoining Golaghat district was lifted after talks between the district administration and ATTSA leaders. On June 3 last year, Sanjoy Bhumij, a worker at Naginijan estate, died when he, along with four others, was shot by suspected militants from the Nagaland side of the border.

The incident created tension between both the states with several organisations imposing economic blockades against the neighbouring state and traffic stalled for many days. Prior to that, on May 23 last year, Nagaland residents abducted two labourers from the same garden while they were cultivating paddy within the garden, which Nagas claim as their territory.

Though the duo was released within two days, the situation changed drastically the ties between people.

Additional deputy commissioner Dwijen Singh said officials from PWD, Assam Power Distribution Company Limited, forest, revenue, health, PHE and agriculture departments would be part of the team.

ATTSA assistant general secretary Dhiraj Gowala has welcomed the proposed initiative.

He said the students’ union has been submitting memoranda to the district administration to draw attention to the backwardness of the border areas.