Bhutanese check gate at Daifam objected

KALAIGAON, Oct 23 – The construction of a Bhutan border check gate along the Indo-Bhutan international border at Daifam near Bhairabkunda has been temporarily suspended following an objection raised by the Udalguri district administration.

In a press release, SS Meenakshi Sundaram, Deputy Commissioner, Udalguri district, said that Bhairabkunda on the Indian side has been the tri-junction of Bhutan-Arunachal Pradesh-Assam. The place has been a key strategic location, as shown in Google Earth. It has been depicted as the last point of the illegal Chinese claim on Indian territory on this side.

The Daifam town is the headquarters of the Daifam subdivision in Samdrup Jonkhar district of Bhutan. It needs mention that Bhairabkunda on the Indian side with a small population of a few thousand people has been a small business and trade village with a police outpost. Further, there is a major site of the Dhansiri irrigation project.

The Bhutanese authorities visited Daifam on a few occasions. Karma Namgyal, Director, Home, Royal Government of Bhutan, while visiting Daifam, told the Deputy Commissioner of Udalguri about the plan of the Royal Government of Bhutan to build a full-fledged border check post along Namgyal. The Director of Home explained the general proposal to advance the Bhutanese gate from its then position to a point which he explained was within Bhutanese territory, but requested the DC of Udalguri to clear certain encroachments purportedly on Bhutanese territory. The DC of Udalguri agreed to verify and said that if any encroachment on settlement was found on the Bhutanese side, it would be speedily evicted as per norms. The Circle Officer, Udalguri was asked to send a communication so as to formally take up the matter with the authorities on the Indian side.

Later, the Bhutanese authorities initiated construction of an arch close to 100 metres south of the existing gate. The I/C of 23 BN SSB informed that Bhutanese construction had entered Indian territory. The DC, Udalguri conducted a verification through the Circle Officer, Udalguri Revenue Circle who informed that Bhutanese construction had been made at an angle to the international line and that it may have intruded into Indian territories.

Accordingly, a copy of the report and all relevant papers were sent to the Government of Assam and BTC administration. Subsequently, the SDO of Daifam subdivision of Samdrup district informed that the Bhutanese authorities had unilaterally withdrawn the construction about a metre inside from the earlier location. But even then it would be on no-man’s land. Hence, the Government of Assam decided to take up the matter with the Government of India for joint verification and finalisation by Indian and Bhutanese survey departments. Further, it was also submitted that pending the verification, the construction activities may be stopped.