Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Three years after the last coordination meeting, the 25th Border Districts Coordination Meeting (BDCM) between Bhutan and the State Government of West Bengal, India was held in Phuentsholing on September 28. The last one was held in 2019, and the pandemic restrictions prevented the two sides from the meeting.

Of the three tiers, the BDCM is the second-tier level of engagement between the parties and it is conducted annually with the State Governments of Assam and West Bengal.

The meeting focused on cross-border facilitation of lawful movement of people through the Pedestrian Terminal facility, traffic management, issues related to smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, alcohol, environmental pollution, and curbing illegal activities, among others.

Director of Law and Order (DLO) Tashi Penjore led the Bhutanese team of dzongdags, drungpas, police SPs and officials from other relevant law enforcement agencies. The Indian delegation was led by the Divisional Commissioner of North Bengal, AR Bardhan included district magistrates and SPs of Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri and Kalimpong, among others.

A press release from the DLO said, “The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) deployed along the Indo-Bhutan borders is an important player in border management and is always represented well in these meetings both in West Bengal and Assam.”

The BDCM was successful in reaching common solutions and outcomes to tackle issues for mutual benefit for people living along the border areas, the press release said.