Boundary Survey Works-A Challenging Task

--Md. MosharafHossain, Incharge, Boundary Section

Mosharaf Hossain

Bangladesh borders on two countries; India and Myanmar. It has land and maritime boundaries with both the countries. India engulfs Bangladesh from West, North and Eastwhereas Myanmar borders on South-East part of Bangladesh only. Bangladesh-India border comprises of five sectors namely West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. Bangladesh-Myanmar land border extends up to St Martin’s Island in the South from where maritime boundary starts. Survey of Bangladesh carries out International Boundary survey works at regular basis with India and Myanmar. Each year there are field survey works including inspections as well as boundary conferences. Joint Field Inspections are done with respective countries. These are very challenging and hustling task for both surveyors and authorities. Joint team needs to see and justify all the survey works done at field levels with special emphasis in the inaccessible terrains of high mountains. Physical fitness is of paramount importance. Walking on foot for days together in the jungle and hilly terrain carrying along survey equipments, food and essential is part of life of brave surveyors. It needs Helicopters to drop personals in hill top and then walk down to the foot of hill and valleys to work on. In some areas the surveyors and inspection team requires the speed boat or trawler support from the security forces. The teams are always supported by their respective border forces as BGB in Bangladesh and BSF in India and Nasaka in Myanmar. Army Aviation or the Bangladesh Air Force provides theHeli-support for survey people in Bangladesh Part. Vehicle supports are provided along the border roads to the surveyors and teams where convenient especially in Mizoram district in Indian side. It takes few months to complete a planned and agreed section of boundary work by the joint team. Inspections are carried out by the heads of the organizations along with their members of concerned departments including Ministries. The field surveys are authenticated and documented by the leaders of the Inspection Team and preserved for further activities. Field surveys always end followed by signing Minutes of Field works. This is to mention that Border is parted in three segments i.e. land segment, River segment and Maritime (Sea) segment. Survey of Bangladesh deals with land and River Segments with its neighbors and the maritime is taken care of by Bangladesh Navy. Besides, boundary conferences are held each year to discuss previous works, plan for next field works and signing of Agreed Minutes related to all boundary activities. All related issues and differences are also settled in these meetings. The Heads of the Survey Organizations lead their respective team in the conferences. The Conferences are held and organized by each country in alternate year home and away basis. The Boundary Strip Maps are authenticated by both Team Leaders by putting their signatures on the map sheets. These are then placed before the Plenipotentiaries of both countries for their signing. It is worth mentioning that the Mizoram sector boundary strip maps are signed by the plenipotentiaries of both the countries in 2011. Boundary survey works require extensive labor, high level consultations, foreign policies and most importantly Agreements and Treaties. Regular monitoring is indispensible for peaceful border crossing of bilateral agreements, trades and transactions. The major problems and disputes occur when the border demarcation aids like Pillars or Markers are destroyed or lost or not found by natural or unknown reasons. The construction of such pillars or markers and their repairs need rapid attention to address the issue. Sometimes the jungle creatures like elephants, bears or monkeys destroy the marks. Our surveyors brave to undertake repair, reconstruction and construction works amid such dangers of hostile animals. Survey of Bangladesh is professionally committed and engaged in this noble work of the nation with its skilled and experienced personnel. They strive and argue with their competent counterparts to save each single inch of the land while working in the remote places along the border. The border terrain is tremendously uneven, undulated and inaccessible. From few thousand meters mountain hill tops to valley streams, in the rugged surface of the terrain and open hot dessert, the survey teams move on to complete their job. The scorching heat of the sun or the bitter cold of winter or the deadly mosquito bites fail to stop their mission. They suffer from fever, taste the hunger and fell the pain of darkness during their stay. This is the task where the surveyors live on the land, sweat it out, otherwise they may not be able to survive as I bear the witness. Survey of Bangladesh is doing this job since 1979 with authority and there is no shift or change of boundary alignment as delimited. Boundary surveys include periodical inspection, reconnaissance, construction repair and maintenance works. Densification of boundary pillars is an important job for easy identification of departing line on ground as the main pillars are constructed long apart. Moreover, Reference Pillars, Reference Markers are constructed at visible locations to mark the Zero Point on water body.Reconnaissance for repair/reconstruction of damaged/missing pillars isnot delayed for a long time in order not to cause deterioration of the boundary line. Boundary Survey workrequires technical skills and knowledge on survey methods.It also demandsgood planning to avoid disputes and degeneration of the boundary line owing to non existence of pillars. The methods and equipments play vital role in getting accurate results and that are done in accordance with agreed minutes or agreements between two countries.Mosarrof Hossain