Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday inaugurated an advanced electronic surveillance “smart fencing” system along a geographically-tough 61-km stretch of Assam's border with Bangladesh to tackle cross-border crimes and provide respite to BSF personnel from round-the-clock patrolling.
Interacting with the media in Dhubri after inaugurating the project, Singh said the smart fencing, under Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), will equip the unfenced areas along the riverine border with sensors, enabling the Indian troops to take prompt action against intrusion and other forms of cross-border crime.
"The Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique (BOLD QIT) project will cover the entire span of river Brahmaputra in Dhubri with data network generated by microwave communication, optical fibre cables, day and night surveillance cameras and intrusion-detection system," he said after inaugurating the project.
“These modern gadgets provide feeds to the BSF control rooms along the border and enable the paramilitary force's quick reaction teams to thwart any possibility of illegal border crossing and crimes,” Singh added.
Asked if the electronic surveillance facility will be extended along the entire India-Bangladesh border, Singh said "it will take time but a system such as BOLD-QIT system should be adopted along the India-Bangladesh border as well as the de facto border with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir."
To a query on National Register of Citizens, the draft of which was published last year, the home minister said "work on updating the NRC is progressing well and the register will be published on July 31."
Noting that the Border Security Force (BSF) is responsible for safeguarding of the 4,096-km-long international border with Bangladesh, he said "at places where it is not possible to erect a border fence due to the geographical barriers, this BOLD-QIT will prove effective.”
"The implementation of this project will not just help the BSF crack a whip on cross-border crimes but provide respite to the troops from round-the-clock human surveillance," he said.
The 61-km border in Dhubri district, where river Brahmaputra enters Bangladesh, comprises vast stretches of sand bank and innumerable river channels, making vigilance a daunting task for the BSF, especially during the rainy season.
Talking about a border project in West Bengal, the minister said "the state government there had assured us about a year back that it would acquire land. But that has not happened so far and work got delayed."
A statement issued by the home ministry said the decks are cleared now for taking up stage-II and stage-III the project covering about 1,955 kms of the border which cannot be physically fenced.
CIBMS involves deployment of a range of state-of-the-art surveillance technologies — thermal imagers, infra-red and laser-based intruder alarms, aerostats for aerial surveillance, unattended ground sensors that can help detect intrusion bids, radars, sonar systems to secure riverine borders, fibre-optic sensors and a command and control system that will receive data from all surveillance devices in real time.
While stage-II of CIBMS project envisages rollout of 153kms in four patches along India-Bangladesh and India-Pakistan border, the stage-III involves rollout of 1,802kms in 67 patches along India-Bangladesh and India-Pakistan border, the statement said.
Stage-II & III of electronic surveillance along the border will target primarily eight types of topography: riverine, delta and estuary areas, waterlogged and swampy areas, creek areas, plain areas vulnerable to heavy fog, thickly-populated areas on the border, hilly areas, tropical jungle areas and deserts, it added.