Dhankhar vs Mamata again? Bengal Governor asks officials to ensure cooperation between BSF, police

Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi and Home Secretary BP Gopalika called on Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan and briefed the governor, the constitutional head of the state, on several matters including the BSF issue.

Published: 12th December 2021 11:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th December 2021 11:30 AM   |  A+A-

Image of BSF personnel used for representational purposes (File Photo | PTI)


KOLKATA: In the backdrop of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directing the police to ensure that the BSF does not cross its jurisdiction of 15 kilometres from the international border, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Saturday asked top government officials to build coordination between the border guards and the police.

Chief Secretary HK Dwivedi and Home Secretary BP Gopalika called on Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan and briefed the governor, the constitutional head of the state, on several matters including the BSF issue, secretariat sources said.

"The governor directed the two top bureaucrats to take necessary steps to ensure that the BSF and the state police work maintaining coordination among themselves," a top source told PTI.

Later, the official Twitter handle of the governor tweeted a post on the same lines.

"Governor WB Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar during hour long meeting with Chief Secretary @MamataOfficial Shri HK Dwivedi, IAS and Additional Chief Secretary @HomeBengal Shri BP Gopalika, IAS called upon them to take urgent steps to ensure cooperative coordination @BSF_India @WBPolice," the tweet stated.

At recent administrative review meetings, Chief Minister Banerjee had directed the police administration not to allow the BSF to breach its jurisdiction limits and get involved in the law and order of the state.

Dhankhar had on Thursday written to Banerjee stating that her recent directive to the state police to ensure that the BSF does not cross its ambit and intervene in the law and order is "potentially alarming for federal polity and national security" and not "in sync" with the Centre's decision of increasing the border guards' jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km.

The Centre recently amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a larger 50 km stretch, instead of 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

Banerjee has criticised the decision, alleging that it is an attempt to interfere with the federal structure of the country.

"Governor Dhankhar expressed displeasure at continued disregard of constitutional prescriptions under Articles 166 and 167 of constitution and sought compliance from CS @MamataOfficial by end of month," the Twitter post of Dhankhar also said.

Art 166 says all executive action of the government of a state shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the governor, while Art 167 defines the duties and responsibilities of the chief minister towards the governor.

During Saturday's meeting, the governor also sought to know the status of "appointment of vice-chancellors disregarding directives of Chancellor and directed that in this matter there can be no judgmental view over his directive".

Dhankhar also sought from Dwivedi an updated status of appointment of vice-chancellors "disregarding directives" of the chancellor (the governor) and said there can be no judgmental view over his directive, according to the tweet.

The post did not elaborate on the issue.

It was not clear whether the issue of Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) amendment bill was discussed at the meeting.

The Howrah Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that proposed to separate Bally Municipality from the jurisdiction of the HMC, was passed by the state assembly recently.

The governor did not give his nod to the bill saying the state government did not provide the information he sought on the matter.

On Dhankhar's direction to the top state government officials, senior minister Firhad Hakim claimed that the governor is acting at the behest of the BJP government at the Centre.

"He is violating constitutional norms by interfering in the functioning of the elected state government," he said.

The Trinamool Congress government headed by Banerjee had several run-ins with Dhankhar over a number of issues since he took over as the state governor in July 2019.


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