HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Bhalla will be meeting WB chief secretary in Kolkata to discuss the pending Centre directed land acquisition project
  • The home secretary is likely to meet BSF officials as well to discuss security issues
  • Ajay Bhalla’s visit comes ahead of the arrest of a Bangladeshi terrorist by the NIA

On Friday, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla is scheduled to meet West Bengal chief secretary H K Dwivedi to discuss the unconcluded Centre directed land acquisition for the construction of road projects, border fence, Border Out Posts (BOPs) and Integrated Check Posts (ICPs).

The meeting will be held in Kolkata. According to sources, the home secretary will also be meeting Border Security Force (BSF) officers, district magistrates and coast guards from the border regions, in order to take cognizance of security issues.

Earlier in October, the Centre provided the BSF with the licence to conduct seizure, search and arrests within a range of 50 km from the international border. West Bengal remains in the states listed by the Central Government in terms of giving such an order. The earlier range for the BSF to maintain their activities was 15 km.

The Centre’s move received abjections from West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. On October 24 she conveyed her message to PM Modi, which said that such an action would only lead to the maltreatment of the common people, who were already facing illegitimacy of the constitution.

According to authorities concerned about the matter, Bhalla is likely to hold talks with the government of West Bengal in order to discuss matters associated with coordination. This includes security matters as well. Other matters which will receive attention in the meeting are the arrangement of security in the ICPs.

The home secretary visits the state after a Bangladeshi Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen terrorist was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from the South 24 Parganas. Bhalla will also hold discussions on other border-related issues including infiltration, drug trafficking, etc.

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