Bangla border fence hits land wall

Calcutta: The Bengal government's land policy cropped up as a major hurdle to the Centre's plan at a meeting to fence the borders with Bangladesh.

"The Union home secretary, Rajiv Gauba, pointed out that fencing along the Bangladesh border had hit a roadblock in Bengal because of non-availability of land.... He requested the state to arrange for land for the project," said an official present in the meeting.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting in Calcutta with representatives of five states that share borders with Bangladesh, including chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Sources said the Bengal chief minister had made it clear that the state would not acquire land forcibly and the Centre had to buy it directly.

"But she was quick to let the Centre know that the state would extend all possible help to get the required land if Delhi accepted the state's direct land purchase policy. The Union home secretary appreciated the policy and made it clear there will be no dearth of funds for land acquisition," said an official.

"We have to put up fences in 684km. In 406km, where erecting a fence is not possible, we will put up non-physical barriers, such as cameras, lasers and radars. All chief ministers have assured us that they will take initiatives," Rajnath said.


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