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24 July, 2019 12:36:45 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 24 July, 2019 05:07:59 PM
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Dhaka to urge Delhi for joint anti-drug drives

Smuggling of narcotics through border increases rapidly
DEEPAK ACHARJEE, Dhaka
Dhaka to urge Delhi for joint anti-drug drives

In the wake of significant rise in drug smuggling through the Indo-Bangla border for the past several years, Bangladesh is likely to call for joint drives to curb the malice in the upcoming home minister level meeting with India. Smuggling of drugs like yaba, heroin, codeine preparations, cannabis, pseudoephedrine and some new psychoactive substances through the Indo-Bangla border has gone up in the past eight years.

In this context, the home minister is likely to propose to his Indian counterpart for joint drives at vulnerable trafficking points along the border of the two countries and to take other steps to stop the smuggling of drugs. The issue is likely to be raised at the home minister-level talks on August 7, said sources in the home ministry and the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC). Control of precursor chemicals and new psychoactive substances will also be discussed, said sources.

According to sources, the law enforcement agencies of Bangladesh, the DNC and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have seized 2,162.433 kg of heroine till May this year,

while the seized amount in 2012 was only 126.73 kg, showing a 17 times rise in seizure in the span of 8 years. The agencies also seized 93.23 lakh bottles of codeine preparations, 47.94 lakh kg of cannabis, 16.91 crore yaba tablets, and 12.77 lakh ampoules of injectable drugs between January and May this year.

Smuggling of psychoactive substances, which are now being used to make yaba, is increasing through the Indo-Bangla border. The government has banned psychoactive substances, which are sympathomimetic drugs of the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes, as they are being used to make yaba tablets.

Talking to The Independent, a senior official of the home ministry said that Dhaka is likely to urge Delhi to conduct joint drives at vulnerable border points to prevent drug smuggling. “In 2006, we had entered into a bilateral agreement and five DG-level talks were held in Dhaka and New Delhi. But the smuggling of drugs has not been curbed in keeping with the expectations,” he added.

“We will urge Delhi to arrange training on precursor chemical management and new psychoactive substances by an expert pool from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),” he said.

DNC director general (DG) Mohammad Jamal Uddin told The Independent that they detected the smuggling of some psychoactive substances, including khat, from  neighbouring countries. “We’ll discuss the details of the drugs with our counterpart at the next DG-level talks to be held in Dhaka next month,” he said.

He also said that Bangladesh is neither a drug-producing nor exporting country, but it has been facing the drug menace due to its geographical location between ‘the golden crescent’ and ‘the golden triangle’. “Drug traffickers take advantage of our geographical location, but we have declared zero tolerance against drugs,” he added.

He further said that they are getting cooperation from India in fighting the drug menace, but not from Myanmar.

Sources said drug addiction is pushing up the number of drop-outs from educational institutions. Anti-social activities are also on the rise, they added.

The government is planning a massive campaign on the terrible consequences of drug abuse. It would be aimed at all classes of people to motivate them to stand up against this menace.

According to DNC sources, the current number of drug addicts is around 50,00,000 across the country. Around 77 per cent of drug abusers are aged between 16 and 35 years, while approximately 20 per cent of the current drug addicts are women.

Earlier, the government announced its zero tolerance policy to weed out drugs. The law enforcement agencies launched a nationwide anti-drug drive after a directive from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the police launched special drives from May 4 this year.

Already, the government has prepared a draft of the Narcotics Control Act that contains the option of the death penalty for drug peddlers.

MK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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