Heroin continues to flow into Punjab from across the border

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Amritsar, Oct 19 (UNI) After a decade long period of militantcy, the peaceful atmosphere of Punjab is again being threatened--not by the AK-47 weilding terrorists but by the 'white powder' that comes from across the border with Pakistan.

Punjab is now the transit point for heroin smugglers and from here the drug makes its way to the metropolition cities, from where it moves to international market, senior Punjab Police officials have admitted. The use of the white powder is very limited in Punjab as it is very expensive.

In order to check the smuggling of heroin the Punjab Police in December 2005 created the Special Narcotics Cell here. However despite the best efforts of the Cell and of other law enforcement agencies, smuggling of heroin from across the border goes on unabated.

According to figures provided by the Narcotics Cell, this year a record 340.372 kg of heroin has been seized till date. In 2007 this figure (till Dec 31) was 309.256 kg and in 2006 it was 164.885 kg and in 2005 it was 111.518 kg.

The single largest haul of heroin, 54 kg, in recent times was made in Armitsar city by the Directorate of Revenue Enforcement (DRI) in August this year. This consignment had been smuggled from Pakistan through the Khem Karan sector.

Narcotics Cell, SSP, Parveen Sinha said that a majority of the seizures have been made in the border districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Ferozepur. This clearly points to the fact that the drug smugglers are active along the border in these three districts, he said while indicating that the Cell had a list of around 230 smugglers who were active in Punjab.

Compared to these three districts, the adjoining district, Gurdaspur has remained relatively quiet. This could be due to the fact that the terrain in this district is not to the liking of the trans border smugglers as the Ravi river runs all along the Indo-Pak border.

The few seizures that have been made in Gurdaspur district have been near Pathankot. These consignments had come through the Jammu sector and were being moved to 'safer' hideouts by drug carriers when these were seized.

This year of the 340.382 kg heroin seized so far, the DRI accounted for a record 120.506 kg while the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Border Security Force (BSF) accounted for 81 kg. The Punjab Police seized 71.916 kg while the Narcotics Cell seized 51.950 kg till date this year.

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