TODAY -

MHA clarifies on border fencing
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, August 08, 2013: Reacting to the news report on the reported loss of land of Manipur to Myanmar on account of the ongoing border fencing along Indo-Myanmar International boundary at Moreh, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has asserted that the claim of losing 13 villages of Manipur if the construction of fencing continues, has been written and published without checking full details on international practices and the ground level facts as maintained along Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Pak International Borders and the LoC.

In a statement issued by the Addl.

Director General (Media) & PIB, Imphal, the Ministry of Home Affairs set the record straight by detailing the relevant facts of border fencing.

The statement observed that as far as the State of Manipur is concerned, the Boundary Pillars 66, 76, 78, 89 and 90 to 94 (9 Boundary Pillars) remain unsettled with Myanmar.

Similarly, border pillars 79 and 81 cannot be settled as Pillar No.78 remains unsettled.

This was brought to the notice of the Myanmar authorities in a meeting held in Myanmar on 19 & 20 June 2013 and they were requested for early joint survey for settlement of these boundary pillars.

But they are yet to revert back on this.

As far as fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh border is concerned, it has been made 150 yards away from the International Boundary, but at places where it was not possible to do so, the fencing has been done almost close to Zero Line with the consent of Bangladesh.

A similar situation obtains along the International Border and LoC with Pakistan where the distance of the fence is sometimes much more than 150 mtrs.

This results in farms and sometime an entire village lying across the fence.

In all such cases, gates are provided for the villagers to carry out their normal activities and the gates are opened at fixed hours in the morning and remain open till certain fixed hours in the evening.

The International Boundary remains inviolate as the Boundary Pillars are not touched, the statement explained.

It went on to point out that International practice is that 10 metres across either side of the border is considered to be a 'no construction zone'.

In the case of the border with Myanmar, the policy of 10 metres of 'no construction zone' has been decided to be followed though contractors some time increase this distance for the convenience of construction.

However, instructions have been issued that as far as possible the construction of fencing shall not be before the 10 metres 'no construction zone'.

It would be clear from above that without the settlement of the International Boundary along with Boundary Pillars referred to earlier, it is not possible to arrive at a definitive conclusion that a particular village or land is going to be lost.

For the benefit of readers, it is further clarified that the on-going fencing work is restricted to only 10 Kms for the present and no further work will be undertaken unless all the Boundary Pillars are finally settled through joint inspection by the National Survey Authorities of the 2 countries as well as the Survey & Settlement Officers and Staff of the State, the statement of the Ministry added.

Meanwhile, the National Executive of the Communist Party of India (CPI), in its meeting held at New Delhi from August 7 to 8, has resolved to urge the Government of India to immediately review the border fencing and stop the ongoing works until a final solution is arrived at.

The National Executive further demanded a joint survey of India and Myanmar to be conducted at the earliest possible.

According to the resolution taken by the CPI, the Government of India is so far silent on the issue of border fencing along Manipur Sector of Indo-Myanmar border which is leaving out large areas of Manipur's territory on Myanmar side.

With the twin objectives of checking drug smuggling and cross border movement of insurgents, border fencing works between border pillar numbers 79 and 81 covering a distance of 10 kilometres along Indo-Myanmar border near Moreh town was taken up by the Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs since last 10 years and has been a source of anger for the people of Manipur.

Incidentally, Manipur and Myanmar share 398-kilometre long international border.

It further mentioned that Myanmar lodged a protest about the location of zero point as the Government of India took up the border fencing works.

Subsequently, the Government of India decided to construct border fence 10 kilometres inside the Indian territory from the international border line.

Following the reports about Manipur losing large tracts of its territory on account of bordeer fencing, a joint team of intellectuals, youths, well-known social activists and media persons conducted a spot enquiry for two consecutive days.

The border fencing cut out part of Govajang village right in the middle and about 15 villages would be forced to be out of India.

It was also noticed that the border fence is being constructed about 100 metres inward from the natural boundary which means a big territorial loss to Manipur.

The people of Manipur would launch protests all over the State if the Central Government fails to review its decision of border fencing without proper demarcation of the international boundary.


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