Sensitive Siliguri Corridor under Centre's scanner

New Delhi, Aug 17: The Centre has decided to issue special resident cards to those residing in the sensitive Siliguri Corridor area in northern West Bengal, reported Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.

Factors like Chinese flexing military muscles near the Tibet border and immigration from a number of adjacent countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh have moved the central government to take such a measure. The Strategic Policy Group has taken the decision and a body has been also formed under the Union Home Ministry to supervise the matter.

Union Home Ministry sources said the Centre took the decision in view of the Chinese Army's alert movement near the Tiber border, the newspaper reported. The Chinese, of late, have been upgrading infrastructure near the border area, including the Chumbi Valley.

The Indian intelligence sources believe that the Chinese might try to conquer the key Siliguri Corridor area in case tension between the two countries was heightened. The Chicken's Neck along the corridor is a vital communication link between mainland India and the northeastern parts of the country and any effort to disrupt this link could cut off the northeast from the rest of the country.

The West Bengal government has also beefed up security in this part. It has started a police commissionerate in Siliguri recently. In the past, militant members from the northeast, Bhutanese refugees accused of amassing explosives or a Chinese woman charged of illegal immigration were held in this part and neither Bengal government nor the Centre want to take chances.

According to the report, the Home Ministry said that the decision to issue special identity proofs was taken in June, 2010. The supervising body was set up in March this year and the policy decision of issuing the identity proofs on a priority basis was taken on May 30. The Indian Army had also raised a strong demand in favour of the ID proofs.

It was learnt that the identity proofs will be distributed in places like Siliguri, Naxalbari, Kharibari, Phansidewa, Rajganj, Matigara in the first phase. Later, places like Islampur, Hili, Mekhliganj and others will be included.

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