The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Construction of Bhutanese check gate on Indian side at Daifam objected

: Darrang, October 21, 2010

The construction work of a Bhutan border check gate along Indo-Bhutan international border at Daifam near Bhairabkunda has been temporarily suspended following an objection raised by the Udalguri district administration. By a press release ,SS Meenakshi Sundaram, Deputy Commissioner, Udalguri district said that-Bhairabkunda on the Indian side has been the tri-junction of Bhutan-Arunachal Pradesh-Assam. The place has been a key strategic location, more so since as shown in Google Earth, it has been depicted as the last point of illegal Chinese claim on Indian Territory in this side. Daifam town, HQ of Daifam Sub-Division of Bhutan borders on the Bhutanese side is a Sub-Division of Samdrup Jonkhar district of Bhutan. It needs mention that Bhairabkunda, on the Indian side ,with a small population of a few thousand people has been a small business/trade village with a police Out Post. Further there is a major site of Dhansiri Irrigation Project.

The Bhutanese authorities visited Daifam on few occasions. Karma Namgyal, Director, Home, Royal Government of Bhutan while visiting Daifam told Deputy Commissioner, Udalguri about the plan of Royal Government of Bhutan to build a full fledged Border Check Post on the Bhutanese side a few months back.The DC Udalguri jointly visited the border point along with Namgyal and I/C 23 BN of SSB.The Director of Home explained the general proposal to advance the Bhutanese gate from its then position to a point which he explained was within Bhutanese territory, but requested Deputy Commissioner, Udalguri to clear certain encroachments purportedly on Bhutanese territory. DC Udalguri agreed to verify and if any encroachment of settlement were found on the Bhutanese side ,would be speedily evicted as per norms. The Circle Officer, Udalguri was asked to send a communication so as to formally take up the matter with the authorities on the Indian side.

Later the Bhutanese authorities initiated construction of an arch close to 100 meters south of their presently existing gate. I/C of 23 BN SSB informed that Bhutanese construction had entered Indian Territory. DC, Udalguri caused verification by Circle Officer, Udalguri Revenue Circle who informed that Bhutanese construction had been made at an angle to the international line and that it may have intruded into Indian territories. Accordingly message and a copy of the report and all relevant papers were sent to Government of Assam and to BTC. Subsequently, SDO of Daifam Sub-Division of Samdrup district informed that the Bhutanese authorities had unilaterally withdrawn the construction about a metre inside from the earlier location.But even then it would be in NO-Man’s land. Hence the government of Assam decided to take up the matter with the government of India for joint verification and finalisation by Indian and Bhutanese survey departments. Further it was also submitted that pending the verification, the construction activities may be stopped.

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