Bangladesh to check spillover of mobile services into India

Shillong, Jan 13 (IANS) Bangladesh officials Tuesday assured India that they would convince their mobile service providers to prevent the spillover of Bangladesh mobile phone services in the border areas of Meghalaya.

“We have expressed our concern with Bangladesh counterparts on the spillover of mobile signals from Bangladesh and use of Bangladesh SIM cards by our (Indian) people residing on the international border,” Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district magistrate Sanjay Goyal told journalists.

“They (Bangladesh officials) have assured us that they will talk to their government and would also convene a meeting with telecom operators to reduce the strength of the mobile radio frequency to prevent it from spilling over to the Indian side,” he said.

Indian authorities raised this issue at the two-day district magistrate-level meet between India and Bangladesh, which concluded here.

“Our main point of contention was that anti-social elements, be it militants or dacoits, are misusing the spillover mobile networks to carry out their nefarious activities which could prove to be a security threat to both countries,” Goyal said.

Bangladesh’s biggest cellphone operator Grameenphone has been doing brisk business in the border areas with India despite the Indian government relaxing security norms for its mobile operators, allowing them to provide services up to 500 metres inside the border

In fact, this is not the first time that India has raised this issue with Bangladesh authorities after security agencies alerted New Delhi about the free availability of Bangladesh’s mobile signals deep inside Indian territory in Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Assam.

The meeting of district magistrates in Meghalaya and Bangladesh also decided to prepare a list of habitual offenders operating on the 443 km India-Bangladesh border in the Meghalaya sector.

“We have decided to prepare a list of habitual offenders who are involved in petty crimes in the border areas and the list will be prepared and shared by the district police chiefs of the bordering districts between both the countries,” Goyal said.

He said they also decided to suggest to their respective governments to increase the number of vendors at the “border haat” (markets) along the India-Bangladesh border to create more economic opportunities for the people living along it.

These markets are aimed at uplifting the economic status of the people by establishing the traditional system of marketing of local produce, and would be operating at different timings in summer and winter.

While the timings from March to September would be 9.30 a.m.-3.30 p.m., the timings from October to February would be 9.30 a.m.-2.30 p.m.

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