Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Electronic and digital equipment acquired from the open market for Rs 86 crore a few years ago as part of the Union Home Ministry’s Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) remains unused or turned into rubbish, leaving a huge 61 km of security. hole ‘on the river on the India-Bangladesh border with Assam.
The project to secure this Brahmaputra river to curb cross-border crime, illegal immigration from Bangladesh and smuggling of cattle in the Dhubri district of Assam was conceived in 2017 and named BOLD-QIT or Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique.
In 2018, the information and technology wing of the Border Security Force began implementing the BOLD-QIT project and completed it in record time with technical support from various manufacturers and suppliers. On March 5, 2019, former Interior Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the project with much praise.
However, documents held by this newspaper reveal that there are still a variety of equipment that are still in use even though it has been a long time since their purchase.
A DIG from BSF’s Eastern Command took letters last year to its Delhi superiors as well as the Central Information Commissioner, announcing that “sub-standard equipment had also been purchased”.
Claiming that the ‘G’ (Intelligence) Branch of the BSF also wrote several reports against the project to senior Delhi officials, the DIG put it on record that “some of the equipment was transferred to other places ”, even if he didn’t say. the locations.
Last year, an internal audit exercise by a Guwahati-based Inspector General of BSF described BOLD-QIT as a “failed project”. The 174th battalion of the BSF was stationed in Dhubri when the project was implemented. The Dhubri sector is now guarded by the 19th and 41st battalions.
North Block sources revealed to TNIE that neither the home ministry nor the BSF have taken any concrete steps to “hold senior officials responsible for the complete waste of public money”.
Sources said, “The government has talked a lot about strengthening security but has not taken any unreliable steps to plug the eastern borders of Bangladesh, especially if the ministry has a dedicated border management division. “
Senior MHA officials are eager to comment on the waste of public money in relation to the disappearance of Dhubri, which is one of the most porous sections of the India-Bangladesh border and is prone to illegal immigration.
The failure of BOLD-QIT raises the question of the security of “the entire length of the Brahmaputra”. For example, the data network made up of Microwave communication, OFC cable, DMR communication, day and night surveillance cameras and intrusion detection system, tied to BOLD-QIT, also collapsed.
GREAT PLAN HAPPENED?
Gadgets such as thermal imagers, infra-red and laser-based intruder alarms, ground sensors are used for the surveillance system.
When CIBMS was included in the border management plan, it was to enable BSF to equip the India-Bangladesh border with various types of sensors on the unfenced Brahmaputra river and its streams.
The CIBMS concept involves the integration of manpower, sensors and command and control to promote “situational awareness and facilitate rapid response to evolving situations”.
While the major component of CIBMS is the ‘virtual fence’, the second component is the command and control structure, which aims to optimize the use of resources for border management, and the third component is power management. to keep CIBMS going.
4,096.7 kilometers Total length of the India-Bangladesh border.
The 2020-21 annual report of the Home Ministry says, the total length of the India-Bangladesh border is covered by.
Physical fence: 3,112.18 km.
Physical and non -physical barriers comprising technological solutions: 984.52 km.