Vol. 5 Num 21 Thu. June 17, 2004  

BSF thwarts power supply to Pathgram enclaves
Teen Bigha corridor cannot be used for power supply to Dahogram-Angorpotha

RANGPUR: Electricity can not be supplied to Dohogram-Angorpotha enclaves due to objection by Indian Border Security Force (BSF).

BSF is not allowing extension of power supply lines and laying of sub-soil cable through Teen Bigha corridor, the lone passage to the Bangladesh enclaves from the mainland, sources in Lalmonirhat district administration and at Rangpur BDR Sector Commander's office said.

Power Development Board (PDB) sources in Lalmonirhat said BSF thwarted their several attempts to supply electricity to the enclaves.

They are ready to supply '2 megawatt electricity to the enclaves.

The PBD sources said BSF at Panbazar outpost raised the objection first in February this year when they attempted to hang a 11 KV power supply line over the Teen Bhigha corridor.

BSF had said that they had no order to allow installations for power supply to the enclaves. They would let Bangladesh use the corridor for this only when the Indian government gave permission.

The Lalmonirhat Deputy Commissioner then wrote a letter to the District Magistrate of Kouchbihar seeking permission for use of the corridor for power supply.

In response, the Kouchbihar DM wrote to the Lalmonirhat DC that Bangladesh would have to wait till the Indian foreign ministry gave permission, the PDB sources said.

When contacted, sources at Lalmonirhat DC's office said the DC wrote to the foreign ministry (of Bangladesh) requesting for communication with the Indian foreign ministry to settle the matter.

Since then, they did not get any letter from the foreign ministry, they said.

Asked, they said they do not know whether Bangladesh foreign ministry took up the matter with the Indian foreign ministry.

Source at Rangpur BDR Sector Commander's office said the matter was also raised at the last BDR-BSF Director General level meeting, held in Dhaka in March. But the meeting ended without any decision on the issue.

About 20,000 people living in 25 Sq KM area in Dahogram-Angorpotha enclaves in Pathgram upzila in Lalmonirhat are deprived of all facilities from the mainland. The lone health complex at Dahagram virtually remains useless for lack of power supply.

The corridor remains open for 12 hours from 6am to 6 pm. Even BSF does not allow taking of serious patients to health centres in the mainland after 6 pm, local residents told this correspondent.

As per the Indra-Mujib Treaty of 1975, India was supposed to handover the enclaves to Bangladesh in exchange for Berubari enclave. Bangladesh handed over Berubari to India, but India is yet to handover the Dahogram-Angorpota enclaves.