KOLKATA: It was the joint responsibility of the states sharing international borders and the Border Security Force to check border crimes, Union home minister Amit Shah said at the Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) meeting in Kolkata on Saturday in a clear signal to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who complained of BSF “inaction” at some places and “excesses” at others while manning the borders.
Bengal officials had referred to the Centre’s notification increasing the BSF jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km from the border as a reason for the problem.
Mamata, her Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren and Bihar’s deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav attended the EZC meeting while Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik sent two of his ministers.
Shah underlined the need for beefing up border security and pointed to problems related to land acquisition by state governments that came in the way of setting up BSF check posts to curb infiltration and smuggling. He also raised the issue of fencing along the India-Bangladesh border. Mamata raked up the Centre’s arrears towards the state under the MGNREGS and other central schemes. Shah said it was due to compliance problems. Bengal chief secretary HK Dwivedi apprised the home minister that the state had already made corrections and sent a report to the Centre.
The states also raised the issue of fund release for the districts hit by Left-Wing extremism, with all of them seeking a higher share and prompt release of money.
There was a heated exchange between the Bengal officials and Damodar Valley Corporation representatives at the meeting after Mamata accused DVC of releasing water from Jharkhand without consulting the state, blaming it for flooding in large stretches of Bengal.
Jharkhand, on the other hand, raised water sharing problems, with officials saying the state stored water of Massanjore dam built on Mayurakshi river, but most of it was used by Bengal. Shah assured to set up a panel with representatives from DVC, West Bengal and Jharkhand to resolve the issue.
Encroachment of railway land was another important issue that was discussed, with Mamata arguing against evictions.





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