Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 25
Though the Punjab Government has planned a comprehensive action against rampant drug abuse in the border state, the continuous seizure of drugs by the Border Security Force as well as the city police has suggested that the illegal trade continues to thrive as usual. Even the lockdown restrictions imposed in view of the Covid-19 pandemic have failed to dent the illegal drug market.
The Border Security Force recovered as many as 230-kg heroin pushed in by Pakistan-based smugglers during the past six months along the 533-km-long Indo-Pak border in Punjab while Amritsar city police seized over 9-kg heroin during the period.
It is evident to mention here that this has been the biggest drug haul seized by the BSF if we compare it with the corresponding periods in the last two years. In 2020, it recovered over 130-kg heroin while in 2019 it was pegged at approximately 75 kg. Nevertheless, the BSF confiscated a total of 225-kg and 500-kg contraband in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
On the other hand, as the city police records, they seized 51 kg of heroin, besides over 1 kg of smack, 28 kg of opium and 24 kg of charas and nearly 11 kg of narcotic powder during the last four and a half years. They arrested as many as 2,230 drug traffickers during this period.
As per details, 2018 had seen a maximum seizure of 20 kg heroin. In 2017, they recovered just over 3 kg heroin while in 2019 and 2020 they confiscated 6.2 kg and 11.2 kg heroin, respectively. The police nabbed 353 drug-peddlers in 2017 and the number was pegged at 621, 536 and 383 in 2018, 2019 and 2020, correspondingly. This year the number of traffickers arrested so far is 337.
Police Commissioner Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill said during their concerted drive against rampant drug abuse launched by the Punjab Government, the police broke the supply chain by arresting over 2,200 drug peddlers. He said Punjab Police adopted a zero tolerance against drug traffickers and their properties were being frozen by the government.
A BSF official requesting anonymity said an unprecedented prolonged foggy season provided advantage to smugglers. Nevertheless, BSF jawans remained vigilant and they kept thwarting the nefarious designs of anti-national elements across the border fence of pushing drugs. Drones have also been a challenge for the BSF in the recent past. Recently, the BSF had also nabbed a Pakistani smuggler while another was shot dead.
Action plan against drug abuse soon
For tackling the rampant drug abuse efficiently, the Punjab Government is likely to announce a comprehensive action plan against drug abuse which will not only include enforcement and treatment but also prevention programmes. It would also include the earlier initiatives such as drug abuse prevention officers (DAPOs) and Buddy programmes launched by the Punjab Police. Police Commissioner Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill said Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh may launch this campaign on Saturday
Seized drugs to be destroyed
The Punjab Police would destroy a huge quantity of drugs seized from different parts of the state at the local Khanna Paper Mill tomorrow. The exact quantity of the seized drugs to be destroyed would be ascertained only tomorrow. The Police Commissioner said an incinerator at the mill would be requisitioned for this. He said the Chief Minister would inaugurate the same on June 26
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