Northeastern states to step up efforts to curb drug menace

Agartala, Dec 3 (IANS) The eight northeastern states on Tuesday decided to intensify their efforts to curb the drug menace as the region, bordering China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, has turned into a corridor for drug smuggling, a police official said.

Police chiefs of all the northeastern states held a meeting here on Tuesday.

Senior IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau, presided over the day-long meeting. Senior officials of the Border Security Force (BSF), Assam Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force, intelligence agencies and other law enforcing agencies also attended the meeting.

“The meeting decided to intensify coordinated efforts among the law enforcing agencies of the northeastern states to curb the drug menace,” a top Tripura police official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

He said that the meeting also decided to share information and intelligence inputs related to drug smuggling across the border among various security and intelligence agencies.

While talking to IANS, BSF Tripura frontier Inspector General Solomon Yash Kumar Minz admitted that the India-Myanmar border with Mizoram and Manipur was the main transit route for smuggling of yaba tablets and other drugs. Only 250 km (with West Bengal) out of the northeast’s 5,687 km outer perimeter touches India. The remaining 5,437 km represents international boundaries with China (1,300), Myanmar (1,643 km), Bangladesh (1,880 km), Bhutan (516 km) and Nepal (98 km).

After coming to power in March last year, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government headed by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb launched a crusade against the drug menace in Tripura.

An official of the Home Department said that following the directions of Deb, who also holds the home portfolio, the security agencies comprising state and central para-military forces, along with the district administrations, launched a war against the cultivation, trade and smuggling of drugs, especially cannabis.

“Various security agencies in the last 21 months have seized huge quantities of numerous drugs valued at around Rs 75 crore,” the official added.

The drugs include dry cannabis (ganja), ganja plants, various types of cough syrups (that serve as intoxicants), habit-forming tablets including Yaba tablets (which contain a dangerous chemical compound), brown sugar and heroin. Deb, who pledged to make Tripura a “drug-free state”, said at a government function here on Monday that from March last year to October this year 690 cases related to the drug menace were registered in Tripura and 1,172 people were arrested in this connection.

“As drug related activities were reduced, 40 per cent atrocities on women and 10 per cent incidents of rape of young girls have decreased,” the Chief Minister said.

A Tripura police officer Durga Kumar Hrangkhawal, 39, was killed after he was hit by a vehicle of suspected drug smugglers at Kalamchoura in Sonamura on November 21 midnight.

“The police team led by Hrangkhawal was looking for three vehicles as they were carrying contraband drugs. One of the vehicles hit the police official,” a spokesman said, adding that the other members of the police team could not stop the speeding cars.

A BSF commandant was also killed by the drug peddlers in the same bordering Sonamura area two years back.

–IANS

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