By Sujit Chakraborty, Akhaura (India-Bangladesh border), Aug 19 IANS | 4 months ago

Border guards of India and Bangladesh have taken up an ambitious plan to plant millions of trees along the frontier to protect environment and to reinforce friendship among them, officials said Tuesday.

Senior officials of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Security Force (BSF) at a brief function at Akhaura border checkpost (near Agartala city) Tuesday exchanged saplings of various fruit trees to green the areas that they guard along the 4,096 km India-Bangladesh borders.

"Bangladesh is now observing 'National Plantation Week'. As part of the week, the BGB would plant millions of trees along the India-Bangladesh border," Lt. Col. Salauddin Khalid, commanding officer of BGB's 12th Bn told reporters at Akhaura border check post.

Accompanied by other senior BGB officials, he said: "Through the exchange of saplings, friendship between the BSF, BGB and people on the both sides of the border would be further strengthened."

"The trees would be planted in each BOPs (Border Out Post) to sector and battalion headquarters all across the India-Bangladesh border. Through this 'green mission', not only the environment would be protected but also the people of bordering villages would be benefited," Khalid said.

BSF's Deputy Inspector General (DIG) B.S.Tolia, after exchanging saplings and jointly planting five fruit trees along the border, said : "As part of the ongoing 'Earth Festival' (August 15-21), the BSF also embarked upon to plant millions of trees all along India's border with Pakistan and Bangladesh."

He said: "The BSF aimed to enter the "Limca Book of Records" by planting 180,000 trees along India's frontiers with Bangladesh and Pakistan Tuesday in half-an-hour (10 a.m. to 10.30 am)."

The BSF and the BSF officials said that the border guards of the two countries aim to make troopers and people on both sides aware of climate change and global warming.

They said that the sapling exchange programme was held in many places on the India Bangladesh borders.

BSF DIG Bhaskar Rawat told IANS that considering the environmental affect due to climate change and other ecological degradation, this mission was undertaken at the instance of BSF Director General Devendra Kumar Pathak, an IPS officer of the 1979 batch of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre.

"Instead of sweets, Indian and Bangladeshi border guards are exchanging saplings to green the bordering areas to mark India's Independence Day celebrations," Rawat said.

Usually, BSF and BGB officials exchanged sweets on the national days of the two countries.

Concerned with global warming and climate change, the BSF launched a "My Earth, My Duty" plantation programme Aug 15, 2011.

"More than 10 million plantations have been planted along India's border with Bangladesh. But this time it would be done along the border with both Bangladesh and Pakistan and to script a record too," the official said.

Saplings of various trees would also be exchanged between the border guards of India and Pakistan.

The BSF official said that after creating the record Tuesday, the green mission would continue till Aug 21 to cross 200,000.

"Besides providing security along the border areas of the country, BSF has taken initiative in safeguarding the environment along with the country's boundary and is determined to continue this task, plant trees and care for them whenever and wherever there is a chance."

"BSF has pledged to nullify the effect of the environmental hazards that nature is facing due to the felling of trees for the past many years," Rawat added.

India has 15,106.7 km of land border and a coastline of 7,516.6 km including island territories with seven countries Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

BSF troopers are deployed along the 4,096 km India-Bangladesh and 3,323 km India-Pakistan frontiers.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at sujit.c@ians.in)

(Posted on 19-08-2014)

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