The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt, party shed influx blinkers

Calcutta, Aug. 11: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government and parties at both ends of the political spectrum have conceded that illegal immigration is a matter of concern in Bengal.

“There is no denying that illegal migrants are entering the Indian side through Bengal’s border districts,” chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb said.

The admission came on a day The Telegraph reported that a central project has found over 90 per cent of the people in two areas in Murshidabad do not have any document that can prove nationality.

“Though I have doubts about the figures, I do not want to quarrel with numbers because the issue is real and cannot be wished away,” Deb said.

“We have brought the matter to the notice of the Centre and sought its help. We as a state government cannot do anything unilaterally because it involves India’s relations with another country. The issue has international implications.”

Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who has of late trained her guns on illegal immigration, said she stood vindicated. “I have spoken to the President and the Chief Election Commissioner. The newspaper report comes as an eye opener to many in the decision making process.”

The CPM, which had been reluctant to address the issue, acknowledged the existence of the problem. “It is a sensitive issue and not possible for the state alone to combat it,” said CPM leader Anil Biswas. “But your figures are absurd.”

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