By Mahmudul Hasan Raju
NORTH 24 PARGANAS, INDIA, APRIL 6, 2018 (BSS)-Nilotpal Pandey, commandant of India’s Border Security Force (BSF) 64 Battalion, has said no crimes have taken place in the newly-launched crime free zone (CFZ) along India- Bangladesh border in last one month.
The BSF commandant made the claim this morning while talking to a Bangladesh media delegation invited to visit the Kalyani area of the 8.3- kilometer CFZ in North 24 Parganas district on the common borders between the two countries.
Pandey was also corroborated by Tarikul Hakim, commander of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) 21 Battalion, as he too said no crimes have taken place in the area since the declaration of CFZ.
the first ever CFZ along the international border was launched last month amid huge festivity as the March 9 event was attended by senior officials from both the friendly neighbors.
“We are maintaining a wonderful coordination with our Bangladeshi counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and we have been able to check crimes like smuggling, human trafficking, arms smuggling through this point,” Pandey added.
The BSF official said both the frontier forces are maintaining 24-7 contact through a telephone line between border outposts of both the forces.
“We both will maintain this surveillance 24-7 through mutual coordination. The benefit of such coordination is if we see any suspicious movement in Bangladesh part of the zone, we just make a call though the hotline and BGB comes in action, when they see similar things, they do the same. The criminals can evade eyes of one party, but not of all,” Second in-Command of BSF 64 Battalion Raghavendra Singha said.
The locals are also happy over the declaration of CFZ as Dilip Halder, a farmer of village Kalyani, said they are being able to work in their fields uninterrupted.
Bangladeshi farmer Awal of village Doulatpur said they don’t have to live in the fear of getting shot on suspicion anymore.
“Earlier we used to catch fish in the river Ichhamoti but now there is no fish in the water. But the smugglers used to pretend as fishermen and carry out their activities through this border. We used to avoid coming to the area in fear of coming under fire from BGB-BSF. But now there is no crime, so there is no fear. We are working in our field happily,” he said.
Meanwhile, MK Barnwal, Commandant (Ops) BSF’s Kolkata Headquarters, bins the idea of deploying drones in the area for the time being.
“Though we have drones in our headquarters but we didn’t need to fly those in this area. With coordinated monitoring from both the forces, crimes are still in check,” he said.