bsf: Forest clearance to BSF for infrastructure across Sir Creek estuary


The environment ministry has granted forest clearance to the Border Security Force for developing its infrastructure across the Sir Creek estuary. This is likely to clear the decks for the BSF project to maintain round the clock navigation and surveillance on the Indo-Pakistan maritime border, and for protecting its fleet in the harsh terrain.

Over a decade, BSF had acquired 25 acres in the area and has now received clearance for using 4.16 hectares of forestland of the Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary for developing marine infrastructure for safe keeping of BSF vessels near Koteshwar in Gujarat. The long-pending BSF project involves establishment of a permanent jetty to facilitate 24×7 navigation and safeguarding of vessels, including floating border outposts, mechanised crafts and fast patrol boats in the marine border.

The Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary is one of its kind wetland which hosts over 15 threatened species and rare flowering plants. It is also considered as one of the habitats of extinct Indian cheetah. The BSF has, however, said that for security reasons, the site was best suited for its ₹271 crore project.

1.....ET Online

The standing panel of the National Forest Advisory Committee had said that coastal area biodiversity was an area of concern at a meeting last month, when use of forestland from the sanctuary for BSF was approved with caveats. The proposal was cleared by the chief wildlife warden of Gujarat government’s wildlife board earlier.
The ramp up in Kutch district’s Koteshwar is part of the Centre’s larger push to bolster infrastructure and check infiltration and smuggling from Pakistan. In meetings held earlier this year, the home ministry had sought to expedite establishment of infrastructure in the BSF manned marshy terrain. BSF’s water wing already has a base port in Koteshwar.

1.1..ET Online

The water wing provides surveillance in the India-Pakistan border area along tidal creek areas, including Sir Creek, using a fleet of marine vessels. Most of the patrol area is a complex network of channels and intertidal mud flats, many of which have mangroves, and is only accessible by boats. These remote areas are unpopulated and the closest locations connected by road with human habitation are the eastern shore of the Kori creek.

Finding the present infrastructure inadequate, BSF wants to make several improvements for safe keeping of its fleet in Koteshwar. Currently, it does not have any permanent marine facilities for parking, bunkering or repair of fleet in the remote area and rely on make-shift arrangements such as abandoned/temporary jetties or beach landing during high tides. The lack of a sheltered harbour also compromises efficiency of rapid response vessel deployment during monsoons, as much of the fleet moves to the neighbouring Jakhau area for shelter. The infrastructure plan involves setting up of a new berth for floating border outposts, pontoons and slipway among other aspects. The berth will be used for berthing, transfer of personnel, arms and ammunition and station basic amenities.


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