Ain’t pretty

The overall security scenario in the country is not as pretty as the government would have the public believe. A daring robbery at Golbazaar in Lahan occurred almost under the security agencies’ noses. Housebreaks and dacoity have gained higher frequency in the Tarai in recent months although the porous border is responsible to a large extent as the miscreants can easily crossover to the other side and vice versa to avoid the police dragnet. The robbers have also been known to engage in other forms of anti-social activities. The police have been quite successful in nabbing several groups of robbers. Villages, particularly close to the border, have proven vulnerable to such criminal forces more often than not.

Even though anti-social elements take advantage of unhindered movement along the open Indo-Nepal border, the two countries, meanwhile, are all braced up to start upgrading four major border check posts at Raxaul-Birgunj, Sunauli-Bhairahawa, Jogbani-Biratnagar and Nepalgunj Road-Nepalgunj. India has pledged an assistance of Rs 505 crores in order to effect enhanced trans-border transportation of goods and services. This is a welcome development, and the trading communities in the two countries in particular will have something significant to look forward to as the check posts have not always been able to clear customs bottlenecks and other technical hurdles in a manner business communities in both the countries would have liked to.

The agreement is also an instance of two friendly neighbours working alongside each other to tackle a common problem. Besides the benefit the commercial sector is likely to derive, the unwanted anti-social elements that have been taking advantage of the open border are likely to come under increased surveillance. Existing laxities have enabled miscreants to engage in human trafficking and smuggling of goods and contraband items. It is unique to share an open border. But criminals can prove to be a damper to either side if it is not supervised from close quarters. If the security agencies need to prevent unwanted elements from misusing the open border, agreements like the one reached on Wednesday would have to be properly implemented. The security agencies must rise to the occasion and succeed in apprehending unwanted elements on both sides of the fence.