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BSF allegedly blocks MLA Swapna Das Paul from inspecting border haat work at bordering Sonarai village


BY TC News Desk

Agartala, February 03: Surma assembly constituency MLA Swapna Das Paul to inspect the border haat work at Sonarai village on the Bangladesh border turned into a confrontation with the Border Security Force (BSF) on Saturday. The BSF jawans of the 105 battalion stopped the MLA and the accompanying journalists from crossing the barbed wire fence, citing security reasons.

The border haat, a weekly market for local traders and farmers from both sides of the border, has been a long-standing demand of the people of Sonarai and nearby villages. The work on the border haat was supposed to be completed before the last Durga Puja, but it has been delayed due to slow progress and complaints of poor quality.

MLA Swapna Das Pal, who had promised to inaugurate the border haat during her election campaign, decided to visit the site and check the status of the work. She was accompanied by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and some journalists. However, when they reached the barbed wire fence, they were stopped by the BSF jawans, who said that only the MLA could go beyond the fence, and not the journalists.

The SDM informed the BSF assistant commandant that he had the permission from the district administration to take the journalists along, but the BSF officer refused to budge. He said that the media person could pose a security threat and that the BSF had the authority to regulate the entry to the border area.

MLA Swapna Das Pal tried to persuade the BSF officer to let the journalists go with her, but he did not agree. She said that the journalists were there to report the ground reality of the border haat work and that they had the right to do so. She also said that the BSF was not cooperating with the state government and the local people in the development of the border haat.

She then decided to return without crossing the fence, saying that she would raise the issue with the higher authorities. She also expressed her dissatisfaction with the quality and pace of the border haat work, saying that it was a waste of public money and time. She alleged that the contractor and the officials involved in the project were corrupt and incompetent.

She also accused the BSF of not allowing the Indian farmers to access their land beyond the fence, while allowing the miscreants from Bangladesh to enter and damage the crops. She said that this was causing resentment and anger among the Indian farmers, who were losing their livelihood. She demanded that the BSF should protect the Indian farmers and their land, and facilitate the smooth functioning of the border haat.

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