Since the fencing along the India-Bangladesh border in Mizoram started in 2005, the fact that the four construction companies namely Engineering Projects India Limited (EPIL), National Projects Construction Corporation Ltd. (NPCC), Border Roads Organization (BRO) and National Building Construction Corporation Ltd (NBCC), all public sector companies, began to acquire lands and erected the fencing as per their whims, without consultation with the local villagers and local authorities, including the Village Councils, Deputy Commissioners and the BSF, is all well known and well documented. Yet, the state government of Mizoram surprisingly remained silent spectator. As for the Ministry of Home Affairs, it was only interested to see the fencing completed as soon as possible.
Bewildered by the silence of the Mizoram government, Dr HT Sangliana (a Mizo himself), Vice Chairperson, National Commission for Minorities during his visit to Aizawl on 6 June 2011 wondered as to why Mizoram government was not protesting against the irresponsible manner in which the fencing was erected resulting in loss of huge area. The land lost to fencing is not Chakma land but land of Mizoram, he tried to remind the state government and the people of Mizoram.
A few days ago, while participating in a debate in the Assembly House, Chief Minister Lalthanhawla stated that he opposed fencing of Mizoram-Myanmar borders, as it would restrict the rights of the Mizos living in both the countries. I am surprised by his astounding silence on the plight of the Chakmas due to fencing in Mizoram-Bangladesh sector. Well, if not for Chakmas, at least he should have shown concerns towards losing of so huge chunk of Mizoram's territory to fencing. Has he forgotten the sacrifices made by the Mizos during insurgency days to own a state called Mizoram today?
The fruits of total freedom enjoyed by these four public sector agencies are before all of us to see. Congress legislator and president of the Fencing Committee, Nirupam Chakma claimed in the Mizoram Assembly on 18 July 2011 that the border fencing at some locations was constructed six km (6,000 meters) within the state's territory, although the MHA guidelines permit fencing only up to 150 yards from the zero point. (150 yards = 137.16 meters).
Thereafter, the BJP, Mizoram unit, came out with an estimate that the total area which has fallen outside the India-Bangladesh border fence is “the size of a district”.
Therefore, it is funny to comment that Mizoram now has nine districts: Aizawl, Champhai, Kolasib, Mamit, Lunglei, Lawgntlai, Saiha, Serchip, and “Out-fenced Area District” !
It may sound funny, but a serious matter too.