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Millennium Post

Int' norms lead to shifting of villages inside barbed-fence

BALURGHAT: South Dinajpur district administration has taken an initiative to start the process of shifting villages outside the barbed wire fence along the Indo-Bangladesh border.

A source said the district is surrounded on its three sides by India-Bangladesh border stretching about 252 km while 12 such villages are at present situated outside the fence manned by the BSF.

Notably, the barbed wire fence was erected by the government to curb the menace of infiltration from across the border and prevent cross-border movements of the militants.

"According to international norms, the barbed wire fence has to be erected 150 yards inside India from the zero line of the border. This is one of the biggest challenges for us as all those staying ahead of the border fence are Indians. We have recently submitted a proposal to the Union Home Ministry to shift these villagers inside the fence," an officer said.

Importantly, two villages — Mallickpur and Teliapara of Mallickpur border outpost of Gangarampur — were shifted recently inside the fence.

There were 87 families living in Mallickpur and of them, 72 families were shifted. The process of shifting the rest 15 families will be completed shortly. Similarly, 17 families residing in Teliapara were shifted successfully and the rest 15 families will be shifted shortly, said the source.

"The villagers, who have been shifted recently, will be provided adequate land for constructing houses, safe drinking water appliances, electric connectivity and concrete roads to ensure that the villagers do not face any problem after they are shifted. After taking consent from the villagers for shifting, the state is required to relocate them and provide compensation," said the officer.

BSF has for the time being made arrangements for the villagers to cross the fences through metallic doors where they are frisked and asked about their identities.

"We feel humiliated as if we are not Indians. We require permissions all the time if we want either to go to the market or visit our relatives in an adjacent village at zero point from where the international boundary between India and Bangladesh starts," said one of such villagers of Hili on condition of anonymity.

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