Parliament gives legislative backing to SSB

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New Delhi, Dec 1 (UNI) Parliament today passed a Bill giving legislative backing to the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) for effectively performing its assigned task of guarding about 2400 kms of India's borders with Nepal and Bhutan, thereby providing an enhanced sense of security to the people living in bordering areas and preventing cross-border smuggling and crime.

The Sashastra Seema Bal Bill, 2007, was today passed by the Lok Sabha. It was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on November 28.

The Bill deals with all aspects of the SSB, including the condition of service of the members of the force, offences, punishments, force courts, execution of sentences, pardons and remissions.

Winding up the discussion on the Bill, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said the vacancies in the SSB would be filled in the next three to four months.

He said an additional 22 SSB battalions would be raised in the near future.

Mr Patil said the personnel of the SSB would continue to do civil action duties by motivating the people. ''They have been asked to help civilians in their place of posting in border areas and get their support.'' The Minister disagreed with the suggestion of a few members to create a unified command for the Central Para-Military Forces such as the SSB, ITBP, BSF and Assam Rifle.

''This is not a practical proposition as the different forces are tasked with duties in different places and work in different situations,'' he maintained.

Though a legislative backing was being provided through the Bill, the SSB would continue to perform the same tasks.

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