Calcutta, March 10: The Forward Block has cornered praise for itself for securing a visit by a high-level Union home ministry team to the India-Bangladesh border from tomorrow.
The ministry’s joint secretary, Akhil Jain, and the Border Security Force director-general will reach Cooch Behar tomorrow. They will visit the borders in Murshidabad the day after and meet senior officials at Writers’ Buildings on Thursday before leaving for Delhi.
Bloc MP and all-India general secretary Debabrata Biswas today claimed the visit of the high-powered team was a result of his continuous efforts to convince the Centre about the problems faced by citizens living in border areas.
“Recently, Union home minister L.K. Advani had led a delegation of the consultative committee of the home ministry to Bhopal to supervise sophisticated arms training camps of the BSF there,” he said.
“During my visit to Bhopal, I insisted on a team being sent to Bengal to witness the problems of Indians living on the Indo-Bangla border. I had also submitted a memorandum to the minister during the trip. Advani had assured me that the team will be sent to the state on March 11,” Biswas said.
CPM sources, however, said Advani had made the same assurance to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee during his last meeting with the deputy Prime Minister in Delhi.
Left parliamentarians from the state, the sources said, had also met Advani recently and insisted on a high-powered Central team to tour the borders and understand the plight of the people there.
Biswas came down heavily on some bureaucrats in the state for their “callous attitude towards the problems in border districts”. He said the state should utilise the opportunity and make strong efforts to convince the visiting Central team about the hardships the border villagers were facing in the state.
Agriculture minister Kamal Guha of the Bloc left Calcutta for Cooch Behar today to meet the Central team, which will reach the district tomorrow.
Biswas today alleged that the BSF in Bengal was handling the border problem independently, without caring for the opinions of the district magistrate, block development officers or even the local self-governments.
He demanded that the border gates manned by the BSF should be kept open from sunrise to sunset for the villagers’ benefit.