Bangladesh has agreed in principle to allow zero-line fencing in 13 places: Official

Shillong, Dec 1 (PTI) Bangladesh government has in principle, agreed to allow India to erect barbed wire fencing along the zero-line in at least 13 areas along the Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya, a senior official said on Sunday.

The decision was welcomed by border villagers in the hill state as there are many houses, cemeteries and shops that fall within the 150 yards of the international border.

As per the Indira-Mujib pact of 1972, no permanent structure can be built within the 150 yards of the border.

In 1975, a guideline for the management of the 4000 km long Indo-Bangla border was formulated by the two countries which also agreed not to construct any permanent structure within the 150-yard limit.

'Following Indias request, the Bangladesh government has in principle agreed to allow construction of fencing on zero-line in at least 13 areas of the state within the zero line,' the official told PTI.

Fencing at the identified areas along the zero line at East Jaintia Hills district, West Jaintia Hills district, East Khasi Hills district and South West Khasi Hills district will be taken up accordingly, he said.

The state government had identified those areas where erection of fencing 150 yards away from zero-line would not be feasible and as such approached the Centre to seek permission from Bangladesh, the official said.

The matter is awaiting final nod from the Bangladesh government as all line departments including the BGB has sent their note of agreement on the matter, he said.

Of the 443 km-long Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya, about 100 km was unfenced. Earthworks have already begun for the remaining patches, the official said.

Till date, some problems have cropped up in the erection of fencing on certain stretches of the border due to existence of low-lying areas, human habitations, cemetery and cash crops within the 150 yards of the border, a BSF official.

Checking of illegal cross-border activities has been a major challenge for the BSF manning it, the official said.

The Bangladesh government in 2012 had allowed India to erect barbed wire fencing along the zero-line in Tripura's Mohanpur market, near the international border. PTI JOP RG RG