Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gujarat BSF’s guarding borders – and flora and fauna’

‘Gujarat BSF’s guarding borders – and flora and fauna’

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Arun Kumar Sinha is Inspector General of the Border Security Force's Gujarat frontier. Although considered less 'hot' than other borders, this landscape poses serious challenges. Crisscrossed by creeks and salt marshes, devoid of habitation but home to endangered species like the flamingo, the BSF finds itself treading with care in Kutch. Speaking with Rakhi Chakrabarty, Sinha discussed some challenges the area presents, how the BSF manages these - and how, besides war, it also thinks of wildlife:

What challenges does the BSF face in guarding the India-Pakistan border in Gujarat's Rann of Kutch?

Well, the Rann of Kutch, a barren wasteland, remains flooded with salty water at two or three feet always. Perennial and seasonal inundation through the year makes this area marshy and salty with temperatures ranging from zero to 50 degrees. The area is inaccessible and due to inundation and low load-bearing capacity, building infrastructure here is very tough.

It is devoid of vegetation and habitation and has no potable water. The area has no landmarks, making navigation very difficult. Strong winds, scorching heat waves, mirages and high salinity affect the eyes. Poisonous snakes and scorpions infest the area. Every year, around 30 cases of snake or scorpion bites impacting BSF personnel are reported. Moreover, excess water is released from Pakistan along the border, inundating the area. It makes operations difficult for us and damages border assets.

For operations in the creek area, our troops are dependent on water channels for navigation. Natural factors, including currents, tides, shifting sand bars and lack of permanent landmarks make the task difficult. Many times, our patrol parties lose direction and have to be searched for. During the rainy season, due to inundation and release of excess water, many border outposts are withdrawn. Roads and culverts are damaged.

How is the BSF gearing up to face such challenges?

The BSF is procuring fast patrol boats, all terrain vehicles, fast attack crafts, hovercrafts and all-weather floating border outposts. A pipeline to supply potable water to troops is being built. A mooring place is being built for maintenance of water vessels. We've raised a Creek Crocodile Commando Team, trained for amphibious operations and other contingencies.

Yet, isn't the threat perception over the Rann of Kutch not as high as the eastern sector border or Jammu?

It's true that this border area is not so hot - but strategically, it is very important, considering that this area triggered the 1965 India-Pakistan war. Again, in 1999, the Pak Atlantique plane was shot down here.

Besides, about 104 km of the border are still an unresolved issue between India and Pakistan.

The area assumes further strategic importance as Pakistan is continuously building infrastructure and increasing its activity.

Critics argue the BSF's patrolling and activities, like a 225-km road through the Rann, threaten its unique ecology. The National Board for Wildlife has objected to this road. What is your view?

After several discussions with wildlife authorities, the Santalpur-Gaduli Road is being modified - the proposed road will not block water flows, it'll have sufficient culverts and causeways. And a 32-km detour is proposed to avoid ecologically sensitive areas.

The BSF is a professional force. In addition to guarding borders, we are also protecting wildlife and promoting preservation of flora and fauna - this is evident from the fact that many flamingos and other migratory birds are mostly seen near BSF posts!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Arun Kumar Sinha, IPS, IG BSF with statues of martyrs in Washington

Arun Kumar Sinha, IPS, in Tampa, USA


                                    Arun Kumar Sinha, IPS, in Tampa, USA

                                   Arun Kumar Sinha, IPS, IG BSF Gujarat, inspecting troops of Border Security Force

                      Arun Kumar Sinha playing holi with his wife Meeta Sinha

                                    Arun Kumar Sinha, IPS
                                   IG BSF Gujarat Frontier 

  •                                        Arun Kumar Sinha, IPS
  •                                          IG BSF GUJARAT FRONTIER 

Arun Kumar Sinha, IPS,
IG BSF Gujarat Frontier