SHILLONG, Sep 27: The issue of extraction of boulders from Umngot river in Dawki, West Jaintia Hills by Bangladeshi nationals was taken up during the four-day Inspectors General-Region Commanders Coordination Conference between Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) at Shillong which ended on Friday.
It may be mentioned that there are reports that hundreds of boats from Bangladesh come to their side of Umngot river an extract boulders thereby altering the river at points where its depth has significantly increased.
Addressing a press conference at the end of the four-day meet, Md Zakir Hossain Additional Director General, Region Commander of the BGB said that the issue of extraction of boulders by Bangladesh nationals was taken up by its Indian counterpart.
Stating that Bangladesh will not allow any unlawful activities on its soil, Hossain said, “The BGB won’t allow illegal extraction of boulders.”
Meanwhile, officials from the Indian side said that there have been instances wherein Bangladeshi nationals come in their boats right up to the international border with India, extract boulders from the Umngot river.
“They would transport these boulders in their wooden boats fitted with engines,” the official said.
On the issue of cattle smuggling, Hossain said that there are syndicates in both the countries which facilitates cattle smuggling.
“We have identified cattle smuggling as a trans-border crime and we are taking measures to control it,” the BGB official said.
He also added that both the BSF and the BGB have agreed to prevent cattle smuggling even as he added that in Bangladesh, the demand and production of cattle is matching suggesting that the country do not need smuggled cattle from India.
Meanwhile, Meghalaya Frontier IG Kuldeep Saini who is leading the BSF delegation informed that whenever smuggled cattle is seized at the border, it has to keep custody until there is an order from the court to hand them over to the police.
“This is affecting our duty,” Saini said.
It was also informed that there are 430 cattle under the custody of BSF, Meghalaya Frontier.
The other issues discussed at the four-day meet, between the two countries’ border guards, were, illegal crossing of both Indian and Bangladesh nationals into each others’ territory, drug smuggling and presence of camps of Indian underground outfit in Bangladeshi territory.
However, Bangladesh has categorically denied the presence of Indian militant outfits in their territory.
The IG level-meet between the two border guards is held once a year alternately in India and Bangladesh frontier-wise.