Drug smuggling on rise along India–Bangladesh border: BSF

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Agartala, Nov 29: Drug smuggling has increased along the Indo–Bangladesh border while the vigil along the frontiers has been tightened to curb it, a top BSF official said here on Friday.

“Border Security Forces troopers have seized and destroyed drugs and cannabis plants valued at Rs.270 cr along the India–Bangladesh border in Tripura,” Inspector General B.N. Sharma said.

He said: “Since 2012, over 1,017,255 cannabis plants valued at Rs.255 cr. were destroyed along the border with Bangladesh.” The seizure of drugs was rising along the border, he said adding that the BSF also seized a huge quantity of contraband valued at Rs.36.52 crore.

Plantations of cannabis are done on a large scale in the interior and inaccessible areas of the border region. Since most of these plantations are tucked away in hills and forests, government agencies have a tough time to detect and destroy them.

According to officials, a large number of villagers in Tripura cultivate cannabis and smuggle it to Bangladesh to earn money. “There is a huge demand for cannabis in Bangladesh, and Tripura plays a key role in meeting this demand,” the official said.

India has been erecting barbed wire fence and putting up floodlights along the 4,096–km India–Bangladesh border in West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram to check trans–border movement of militants.

“Around 90 per cent of the Tripura borders were fenced and floodlights put on to check crimes, infiltration and trans–border movement of militants,” Sharma said. He said: “CCTV cameras are being installed in BOPs (border outposts) and biometric devices are being used for better management.”

The BSF official said the paramilitary forces have been setting up of composite BOPs along the border to provide more facilities to guards. “At least 64 composite BOPs would be set up along the 856 km India–Bangladesh border with Tripura. At least 22 such BOPs have already been set up and work on the remaining is in progress,” Sharma said.

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