Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla visits Bengal to speak with top BSF officers
Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla visits Bengal to speak with top BSF officers

Kolkata: Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla will meet with West Bengal chief secretary H K Dwivedi on Friday in Kolkata to discuss pending land acquisition for border fence construction, road projects, Border Out Posts (BOPs), and Integrated Check Posts (ICPs), according to people familiar with the matter. Bhalla is also slated to meet with Border Security Force (BSF) officers, the coast guard, and district magistrates from border areas to discuss security concerns.

In October, the Centre expanded the BSF's jurisdiction in states like West Bengal, allowing it to conduct searches, seizures, and arrests within 50 kilometres of international boundaries. Previously, the limit was 15 kilometres. Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, has spoken out against the move. On October 24, she wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming that the decision was intended to torture ordinary people and had severe constitutional flaws.

Security measures at ICPs, which are critical to trade and easier movement of people among friendly countries, are among the other significant concerns to be tackled. The ICPs are entrance and departure points on India's land borders that house services including customs, immigration, border security, and quarantine under a single facilitation zone. In 2019-20, the six ICPs at Agartala, Petrapole, Raxaul, Jogbani, Moreh, and Attari handled 40% of India's entire commerce with Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Pakistan.

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