Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal visits Bangladesh border. (File image)

Sealing the India-Bangladesh border to end the five-decade-long issue of illegal migration was one of the major promises made in the BJP’s Vision Document released before the 2016 Assembly elections in Assam.

The BJP before the Assembly elections had said that if the saffron party is voted to power in Assam, it would end the influx from the neighboring country by sealing the International border between the two countries.

The Vision Document 2016-2025 had also promised to work closely with the Centre for “complete sealing of the border”.

Almost five years have elapsed since then but the promise has still remained on paper.

Assam shares a total of 263 km border with Bangladesh of which 214.89 km are on land and the remaining 48.11 km are river border.

According to government data, barbed fencing works along the 201.51 km land border have been completed so far and still, there is around 13 km porous border.

In 2019, Assam parliamentary affairs minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had said that the barbed fencing work at a 4.35 km stretch in Karimganj district remained stalled as the Bangladesh government sought a reference pillar.

The minister further said the fencing work in the state was going slow due to the scarcity Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

It may be mentioned that the border fencing work is being carried out by CPWD.

The BJP, which had blamed the then Congress-led government in Assam before the Assembly elections for infiltration from Bangladesh, have failed to expel illegal immigrants.

The party had assured people that it would end the problem of infiltration and detect and deport illegal immigrants.

Home minister Amit Shah while addressing public rallies in Upper Assam’s Sivsagar district in 2016 had assured the people that the BJP would make Assam free of illegal Bangladesh migrants.

However, only 227 illegal immigrants from Bangladesh have been deported in nearly seven-and-half-years since 2013.

The BJP came to power in 2014 at the Centre, while the party formed the government in Assam in 2016.

Parliamentary affairs minister Patowary in 2020 informed the Assam Assembly that a total of 1, 36,149 people have been declared as illegal foreigners by the foreigners’ tribunal (FT)s till July 31, 2020.

Mahesh Deka

Mahesh Deka is Senior Copy Editor of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: maheshdk3@gmail.com