New Delhi, Dec 1 (UNI) Saluting the Sashastra Seema Bal(SSB) for introducing "Jai Hind" to remotest corners of the ersthile North East Frontier Agency, a BJP MP from Arunchal Pradesh(formerly NEFA) today sought intelligence-gathering role for the SSB tasked with guarding borders with Nepal and Bhutan.
Initiating debate on the Sashastra Seema Bill, 2007 in the Lok Sabha, Mr Tapir Gao (BJP) said the force in its earlier incarnation as Special Service Bureau was entrusted with the responsibility of gathering intelligence from Sino-Indian border while working behind the Indian border forces.
Supporting the Bill, he said non-uniformed role of the SSB should also be maintained so that it could discharge its duties more efficiently and professionally.
Home Minister Shivraj Patil, while tabling the Bill for consideration, said SSB, through this Bill, will get legislative backing for performing the task of guarding 1,751 kms Indo-Nepal and 699 km Indo-Bhutan border, providing a sense of security to the people living in bordering areas and prevent cross-border smuggling and crime.
SSB, formed in 1963 in the wake of Sino-Indian war in 1962, was earlier controlled by the Cabinet Secretariat. Its control was transferred to the Union Home Ministry on January 15, 2001. Earlier tasked with guarding the border with Nepal, the task of securing border with Bhutan was given to SSB on March 12,2004, acording to Mr Patil.
Demanding that original charter of SSB be maintained while giving the force the legislative support, Mr Gao hailed it for organising village volunteer groups which, he said, used to work in tandem with the SSB for security of border areas in Arunachal Pradesh. Similar practice should be continued, he added.