Border Security Force (BSF) is battling an unlikely enemy along
the 553-km international border with Pakistan in Punjab - fog. And
it is using hot tea and extra patrolling to keep its personnel
active and ensure that no intruder slips in.
With dense fog prevailing over most areas of the international
border, called Radcliffe Line, the BSF has to ensure that no
illegal movement or infiltration takes place through the heavily
But being fogged out by nature has not dampened spirits. Troopers
of the frontier paramilitary agency to guard the international
border are keeping utmost vigil even in the most trying and
bone-chilling weather conditions. Night time temperatures have
been varying from 0 degrees Celsius to 5 degrees Celsius.
"These days there is a thick cover of fog during night and it
clears up partially late in the day. It is accompanied by biting
cold. Keeping these circumstances in mind, we have increased the
personnel at the border. We have also enhanced the frequency of
our patrolling," Himmat Singh, BSF's Punjab frontier inspector
general (IG), told IANS.
Himmat Singh added: "It is one of the most difficult times of the
year as visibility level reduces to almost zero. There is dense
fog as it is majorly a riverine area. Therefore, we have given
special briefing to our troopers and told them to remain alert and
be extra-cautious. We always make sure that they are in high
spirits and their morale is high."
"We have also started serving our jawans posted at the
international border hot tea twice between the time slot of 12
midnight to 3 to 4 a.m. Tea will help them in keeping fresh and we
also make sure that they are awake."
The tea is ferried from the bases, about 100 metres to two
kilometres away, to the troopers. The extra movement at night also
doubles up as additional patrol, officials said.
Met officials say that any respite from ground fog in the next few
days is unlikely.
"This is a natural phenomenon and it will continue for some more
days. We always have dense fog at the borders during winters. We
are expecting light to moderate rainfall in the coming days and
weather will become clear after it," Surender Paul, meteorological
director at Chandigarh, told IANS.
The border fence, which is electrified and is located 100-500
metres inside Indian territory, runs mainly through Punjab's
Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Ferozepur districts. The
fencing was erected in early 1990s to stop unchecked infiltration
of trained terrorists and smugglers from the Pakistan side during
Punjab's terrorism days (1981-95).
According to the BSF IG, though the vigil along the border was
very strict, attempts of infiltration from the Pakistani side
could not be ruled out.
"The danger of infiltration is always there. We cannot deny it and
it can happen any time. But we have alerted our troops. They are
all set to maintain our border domination and ready to tackle any
kind of attack," Singh said.
Despite the strong BSF presence and the barbed wire fencing, big
quantities of drugs and some weapons continue to be smuggled
In November 2009, the BSF had also inducted women troopers to
guard the international border along with their male counterparts.
In the last 18 months, suspected terrorists in Pakistan have fired
rockets and automatic gunfire into Indian territory at least five
Most of the incidents happened in the vicinity of the Attari
border, about 30 km from the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, 250 km
(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)