The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BSF mends road & ties with border villagers

Charkakmari (Murshidabad), May 6: The Border Security Force is showcasing this village close to the country’s border with Bangladesh as an example of its commitment to improving relations with frontier villages.

The BSF has often been accused by border villagers of harassing them in the guise of conducting infiltration checks.

Thirty years after this village in the Jalangi police station limits came up on the sandbanks created by the erosion by river Padma, it has been linked to the nearest metalled road by a new 8 km stretch. The BSF built the road along with the villagers.

Now, the 5,000-odd people of Charkakmari have easy access to hospitals, schools and markets. Earlier, they walked the 8 km along the sun-scorched sandbank to reach the border road built by the BSF. They had to go another 5 km from there to reach the nearest centre of civilisation.

The new road was built on the initiative of A. Srinivas, commandant, BSF’s 26th battalion, and the Jalangi panchayat samity.

The panchayat pitched in with Rs 80,000 to kickstart this first-of-a-kind enterprise in the border region, backed by BSF expertise and equipment.

“The people had to walk on the burning sand to get to the road and we had to repeatedly lobby with the panchayat samity till they paid up the money. Now we have set an example for all to see,” Piara Bibi, panchayat pradhan, said.

Keeping up the momentum of the goodwill thus generated, the BSF has been setting up regular medical camps in the village over the past week. About 700 people have already availed of the free treatment by BSF physicians.

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