Union Home Secy Ajay Bhalla to visit Bengal on Nov 12
Kolkata: Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla is scheduled to visit Bengal on November 12 to discuss issues related to land port and border infrastructure.
Senior officers of the state government Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi and Home Secretary BP Gopalika would be present in the meeting. The venue of the meeting is yet to be finalised.
Sources said that the visit of Bhalla is mainly focussed on matters related to border infrastructure. This comes when the Centre has decided to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) from 15 km to 50 km along the international border.
According to the experts the issue may crop up in the meeting with the Union Home Secretary.
It was on October 24 when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi registering her "strong objection and reservation to the recent notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs dated October 11 that has drastically increase the territorial jurisdiction of BSF under various provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, offences under Passport Act 1967, Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920, any cognizable offence punishable under any Central Act and other specified laws, from 15 kms to 50 kms in West Bengal along the borders of India". The state Chief Secretary held a review meeting over the existing border infrastructure with the district magistrates of the districts including Malda, Nadia, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Murshidabad, North and South 24-Parganas that share international borders.
Bengal shares an international border of 2164.17 km with Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
"The entire territory of West Bengal comprises of 88,752 square kilometre, of which, by operation of the notification approximately 32,400 square kilometre (equivalent to 37 percent of the State's total territory) will come within the expanded territorial jurisdiction of BSF, and thus, interfere with the executive powers of the state and the state police's ability to maintain the law and order in such areas...," Banerjee had written. The state government is also going to table a resolution at the state Assembly protesting against the Centre's decision of extending BSF's jurisdiction.