Samjhauta train, peace bus being used for narcotics smuggling: Badal


Chandigarh (IANS): Calling for the union government’s intervention in securing Punjab’s 553-km long international border with Pakistan against drugs smuggling, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal Tuesday said that the peace train and bus service between India and Pakistan was being used for sending consignments of narcotics.
“In recent times, the use of Samjhauta Express railway link and the India-Pakistan bus service (Sada-i-Sarhard) for dispatch of narcotic consignments has increased.
“The Samjhauta Express has been particularly vulnerable to novel methods adopted by Pakistani smugglers by shaping the narcotic contrabands as ropes and using these to tie the wagons in order to avoid detection,” Badal said in a letter to union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
He further said that the use of passengers as drug couriers and their baggage for heroin consignments has also come to notice of security agencies.
“In such a scenario, drug enforcement becomes a multi-agency effort with a prominent role of the government of India, as the Border Security Force (BSF) was responsible for guarding the international border and the customs department was responsible for enforcement, prevention and anti-smuggling work.
“The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) have clearly defined preventive anti-smuggling roles,” Badal noted.
Seeking the “personal intervention” of the union home minister in this regard, Badal sought that the BSF be directed to take more effective measures to deter trans-border drug flow, which transits through Punjab before reaching the international/national market.
Badal said that interrogation of arrested smugglers and other inputs have revealed “strong connections between the trans-border smugglers on the Indian and Pakistani sides”.
Urging the union government to increase vigil and putting in place more stringent measures along the border, he pointed out that heroin was coming from Afghanistan via Pakistan.
Badal also said that opium was being cultivated in the states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and smuggled into Punjab. From Haryana and Rajasthan, poppy-husk was being smuggled, while charas was mainly smuggled from Himachal Pradesh, he added.
Highlighting Punjab’s fight against drugs, Badal said: “There has been an exponential increase in the seizures – heroin seizures have gone up five-fold from 101 kg in 2011 to 520 kg in 2014 (up to Nov 17). The seizures of poppy husk have increased more than three times from 758 quintals in 2011 to 2,366 quintals in 2013.”