The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 22 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Malda loses BSF office to land glitch

A barbwire fence along the India-Bangladesh border at Sasani near Baishnabnagar in Malda district. File picture

Malda, Jan. 21: The BSF’s Malda frontier headquarters ceased to exist from today with the border security personnel being requisitioned to fight Maoists in Chhattisgarh and the Bengal government failing to provide the force with adequate and suitable land to augment its infrastructure.

Amarjit Singh, the deputy inspector-general of the BSF’s Malda sector, said the officers, jawans and equipment had been shifted to Raipur by a special train this morning.

“We are leaving Malda for several reasons. One of them is the Maoist problem in Chhattisgarh and we are needed there. Our inability to get land to set up the frontier headquarters is also a reason for the shift. However, this region will be looked after by the Calcutta frontier from today,” Singh said.

According to BSF sources, the Malda frontier was set up by the Union home ministry in 2010 to tackle rising incidents of fake currency smuggling through the border with Bangladesh and also to keep a check on the infiltration of militants through the boundary.

“The frontier was headed by an inspector-general who began functioning from a temporary office at the headquarters of the Malda sector at Naranpur in Old Malda. The frontier comprised Malda district, North and South Dinajpurs and a part of Murshidabad district and had six deputy inspector-generals with 11 battalions. However, we required land to set up 90 border outposts in addition to the 150 existing ones. We also needed a plot to establish the frontier headquarters,” said a senior BSF officer.

The Malda frontier spanned 650km from Khandel in Murshidabad to Aluabari in North Dinajpur.

“We had been frequently contacting the state government for about 100 acres of land for constructing the outposts and other buildings needed to set up the headquarters. We were told by the state government that the Malda district administration would look into our land needs. But we were not given the land,” said the officer.

He said the district administration had shown the BSF some plots for setting up the border outposts. “But we were not satisfied. These plots are located in areas where there was lack of communication,” he added.

Most of the outposts the BSF wanted to set up were in Malda district.

Officials of the district land and land records department were tight-lipped about the development. However, speaking on condition of anonymity, an official said the BSF had approached the state government for the land.

“The problem lay in the BSF’s choice of land to set up the facilities. We had sent the BSF proposal to Writers’ Buildings and these things take time, that is all I can say,” said the official.