Border volatile, but narcotic seizure dips; tight vigil, increased strength paying off: BSF

Ferozepur, October 10: While the international border with Pakistan continues to remain volatile with frequent attempts of infiltration and violation of the ceasefire agreement, there has been a dip in the seizure of narcotics by the BSF over the past three years.

While the BSF seized 344.5 kg of narcotics in 2015, it came down to 222.98 kg in 2016. Till October 10 this year, the BSF has seized 163.52 kg, according to official data.

heroinCross-border smuggling of narcotics has for long being a cause of serious concern in Punjab where drug abuse is rampant. Some areas of the state’s 553-km-long border, of which about 35 km is riverine along the course of the Ravi and Sutlej, is vulnerable due to the terrain as well as close proximity of habitations on either side. There is also a growing fear of underground tunnels running below the border fence being increasingly used for smuggling and infiltration. Several tunnels, the existence of which is difficult to detect, have been unearthed in the past few years.

BSF officers deployed along the border said over the past few months, the strength of the border guarding force in Punjab had been bolstered keeping in view the threat perception. “The number of battalions in each of the four sectors in the Punjab Frontier has been raised from four to five,” a senior officer said. Vigil was tightened after the terror attacks in Pathankot and Gurdaspur in the past two years.

The BSF also came up with the idea of installing laser walls to plug riverine gaps where fences cannot be put up, but there are some technical glitches and drawbacks in the system. Home Ministry figures reveal that 64 km of the border in Punjab cannot be fenced.
A new project called comprehensive integrated border management has been initiated by the BSF to cover the entire stretch of the Indo-Pak border across four states. This involves a “smart fence” equipped with intruder detector sensors and alarms backed with CCTVs that pinpoint the exact location of the violation. Quick reaction teams would then respond to the threat.

The BSF has also taken up several issues with the Punjab Police, which includes shortage of nakas or police check posts in some sensitive areas and ensuring joint interrogation of smugglers apprehended by the state police, sources say. A joint committee will identify tactical points in areas close to the border where nakas can be set up.