India, Bangladesh border guards exchange saplings

Agartala, Aug 17 : Instead of sweets, Indian and Bangladeshi border guards have exchanged saplings to green the areas that they guard, and mark India's Independence Day.

Usually, India's Border Security Force (BSF) and their Bangladeshi counterpart Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) exchange sweets during the national days of both countries.

"BSF and BGB aim to make troopers and people on both sides aware of climate change and global warming," BSF Deputy Inspector General Bhaskar Rawat told IANS Saturday.

"The sapling exchange programme was held in many places on the 856-km border Tripura shares with Bangladesh," said Rawat, who is also the chief spokesman of the BSF Tripura frontier.

The main event took place at the Akhaurah checkpost on the outskirts of Agartala Friday afternoon.

He said a similar plantation drive would be undertaken jointly with BGB all along the 4,096-km India-Bangladesh border.

Caption: BSF, BGB and their wives exchanging saplings at the Akhaurah checkpost near Agartala as part of a programme to green their winding border and to deal with the critical climate change. Photo P. Das.

Concerned with global warming and climate change, the BSF launched the programme Aug 15 last year, under the banner "My Earth, My Duty".

"Since last year, more than one crore trees have been planted in the area that marks India's border with Bangladesh," another BSF official said.

Saplings of various valuable trees were exchanged between the border guards, many of whom were accompanied by their wives and children.

"My Earth, My Duty" programme has been supported by the union ministry of youth affairs, while many accredited organisations like the United Nation Volunteers, Central Reserve Police Force, Eco Task Force, National Service Scheme and the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan are also playing a vital role.

"The plantation programme brought together border guards and people of different religions and customs from both the nations, and is expected to further improve relations between them," Rawat said.

A BGB official told IANS at the Akhaurah checkpost: "Such a joint initiative would bring the border guards of the two neighbours closer, and would help in improving working relations between them."

--IANS (Posted on 17-08-2013)

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