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7 Nov, 2023 10:40

India deploys ‘bee warriors’ along border with Bangladesh

Security forces have installed beehives to deter the smuggling of cattle, gold, silver, and narcotics
India deploys ‘bee warriors’ along border with Bangladesh

The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) has installed beehives along the country’s 4,096km frontier with Bangladesh to deter cattle smuggling and other crimes, while providing livelihoods to the rural population, local media have reported.  

Bee boxes are being placed on the alloy border fence at regular intervals in areas of West Bengal that are prone to smuggling, an official told the PTI news agency. The initiative came from the BSF’s 32nd battalion.

The Indian government views cross-border crime and illegal immigration along the frontier with Bangladesh as a major problem. In the Nadia district of West Bengal, where the beehives are being installed, the smuggling of cattle, gold, silver, and narcotics is rampant, officials told PTI. They added that criminals had previously breached the fence by “cutting or attempting to cut” it.

BSF officials have warned that attacks from swarms of bees could “seriously injure” anyone attempting to cross the border illegally. 

The idea was thought up by Sujeet Kumar, the commandant of the BSF’s 32nd battalion. He told PTI he had been inspired by the Indian government’s ‘Vibrant Village Programme’, which focuses on innovative ideas to generate livelihoods at a village level.  

The BSF has collaborated with the federal Ayush Ministry, which promotes education and research in ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, and other ancient systems of medicine. The ministry supplied the beehives and provided BSF personnel with expertise on how to set them up along the border. The ministry is also providing security personnel with medicinal plants bearing flowers which are being placed around the bee boxes, “so that the bees can pollinate in abundance.” The security forces will ensure that local beekeepers are able to access the hives.