There has been a three-fold increase in the recovery of heroin by the Border Security Force (BSF) along the Punjab border this year as compared to the corresponding period last year.
According to the BSF’s statistics, around 328kg of heroin, apparently smuggled from Pakistan, has been seized till July 19 this year. Last year, the figure was around 100kg for the same period.
Punjab Police officials opine that the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown and restrictions imposed on the unnecessary movement of people have cut the supply chain of heroin, increasing the drug’s demand and prompting the Pakistani smugglers to push in more consignments into the Indian territory through various means.
In the last four months of lockdown (March 23 to July 19), the BSF has seized 229kg heroin on the state border, which is 9kg more than the total seizures in the last year. In 2019, the BSF had seized total 227kg heroin. On March 23 this year, the Centre had enforced the nationwide lockdown.
This year’s seizures include a 64-kg heroin haul from the Ravi river that flows along the India-Pakistan border in Gurdaspur district. The contraband was found in 60 packets concealed in long fabric cloth tubes and tied to a bunch of water hyacinth floating in the river on Sunday.
A senior BSF official in Amritsar said, “We have noticed the increased activities of anti-national elements across the border this year. But our force is capable of thwarting their all attempts. Our personnel are keeping 24×7 vigil along the border.”
A senior special task force (STF) official said, “The supply chain of heroin has been disrupted by the strict lockdown in Punjab and due to this out-patient opioid assisted treatment (OOAT) centres across Punjab have also witnessed a drastic increase in the admission of drug dependents for treatment.”
The BSF’s recovery is apart from the drug haul by Punjab Police along the international border. On May 28 this year, the Tarn Taran police had seized around 8.50kg of heroin from across the barbed fence at Rattoke village on the India-Pakistan border.
Tarn Taran senior superintendent of police Dhruv Dahiya had said the heroin was buried in an agriculture field across the barbed fence. After the recovery, the police had also arrested one Gurlal Singh of Rattoke village. Police had said Gurlal had been in contact with Pakistani smugglers for the supply of heroin.
Similarly, on May 2, STF had recovered 9kg heroin with the arrest of three persons in two separate operations carried out near the India-Pakistan border. The STF had said the heroin, which was smuggled from across the border, was being cleared by the accused.