Bengal and Punjab Government Doubts Over Enhanced BSF Jurisdiction Unfounded: MoS Home

For Record: An armed policeman wearing a face shield stands guard as women queue to vote outside a polling booth during the first phase of West Bengal state elections in Purulia. (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File)

The Union government had issued a notification in October extending the Border Force’s jurisdiction in West Bengal, Punjab and Assam from the existing 15 km to 50 km from the front.

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  • Last update:December 15, 2021, 5:12 p.m. HST
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The apprehensions of the governments of West Bengal and Punjab regarding the recent strengthening of the competence of the Border Security Force are “ill-founded”, and it will instead contribute to “more effective control” of cross-border crimes in cooperation with States, the government told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Union government had issued a notification in October extending the Border Force’s jurisdiction in West Bengal, Punjab and Assam from the existing 15 km to 50 km from the front.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said in a written response that the governments of West Bengal and Punjab had expressed their “apprehension that such a move encroaches on the powers of the state government”. “Their apprehensions are ill-founded. Extending the territorial jurisdiction of the Border Security Forces (BSF) would result in better and more effective control of cross-border crimes in collaboration and cooperation with States,” the minister said.

Rai said Section 139(1)(i) of the BSF Act 1968 empowers the central government to confer powers and duties on members of the force in relation to any central law for specified purposes. In response to another question on the same topic, he said that the skill enhancement “aims to empower BSF to perform its border guard duties more effectively as a result of the use of technologies such as remote-controlled dynamic navigation equipment (drones), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), among others, usually at long range, by anti-national forces for surveillance as well as for smuggling of weapons, narcotics and fakes Indian Bank Notes (FICN).” “This would also help reduce the threat of cattle smuggling as smugglers take refuge in inland areas outside BSF’s jurisdiction. There is no impact on the jurisdiction of state governments,” he said.

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Thelma J. Longworth