Act with 'ruthlessness' against cross border smugglers: Centre (Ld, IANS Special)



To stop cross border smuggling in India, the Centre has directed the forces guarding the frontiers to take "ruthless action" against the smuggling syndicates and engage Central Bureau of Investigation, Customs and Intelligence Bureau to root out the entire nexus, sources said on Wednesday.

Further, to find gaps from where smugglers enter into India, the Ministry of Home Affairs has directed the border guarding forces to undertake a comprehensive mapping of land border and setting up anti-smuggling teams to catch the miscreants.

The Ministry has directed the Intelligence Bureau to identify the border guarding forces officials involved in smuggling thus compromising border security.

A letter to the Central Armed Police Forces, earlier this month, states: "The Central Armed Police Forces has been directed to liaise and coordinate closely with local police and Intelligence Bureau and find out the gaps in the border, in order to plug loopholes."

It further directs the forces to carry out a "comprehensive mapping of the border". While carrying out the exercise, the ministry has told the forces to "present the status of the fencing - to be undertaken by foot/ motorcycle patrolling - and to prepare a report listing out problems areas, gaps, issues and possible solutions".

The ministry has asked the investigative agencies to carry out crack down on smuggling syndicates. It also directed to effectively use "Central Bureau of Investigation and Customs to check on smuggling".

"Ruthless action to be taken against smuggling," the ministry directed the forces.

The Director Generals of the forces have been told to set up a reporting mechanism so that there is direct communication between the personnel guarding the border and them.

It has been found that cross border smuggled goods are generally arms, ammunition, drugs, wild life products, narcotics, FICN, Indian currency, other currency, prohibited items, forest product, cattle, gold, silver, antique idols, eatable, electronics, explosive, medicine, garments etc.

The Centre stated that at Indo-Bangladesh Border, in 2018, a total 17690 cases were registered, 1107 people were arrested and the value of goods smuggled were Rs 126.76 crore. In 2017, a total 26,176 cases were reported, 1591 people were arrested and value of goods seized was Rs 224.88 crore. In 2016, the total cases were reported was 3085, the total persons were arrested was 2256 and value of goods seized was Rs 190.20 crore.

At Indo-Pakistan Border, in 2018, a total 150 cases were registered, 92 persons were arrested and the value of goods smuggled was Rs 960.59 crore. In 2017, a total 201 cases were reported, 130 people were arrested and value of goods seized was Rs 1,417.55 crore. In 2016, a total 152 cases were reported, 161 persons were arrested and value of goods seized was Rs 1,215.20 crore.

At Indo-Myanmar Border, in 2018, a total 127 cases were registered, 156 persons were arrested and the value of goods smuggled was Rs 138.50 crore. In 2017, 129 cases were reported, 238 people were arrested and value of only drugs seized was Rs 9.36 crore. In 2016, a total 79 cases were reported and 122 persons were arrested.

The Ministry has no records of smuggling happening at India-China border.

As per MHA, India has 15,106.7 Km of land border and a coastline of 7,516.6 Km, including island territories. India shares 4,096.7 kilometre with Bangladesh, 3,488 kilometre with China, 3,323 kilometre with Pakistan, 1,751 kilometre with Nepal, 1,643 kilometre with Myanmar, 699 kilometre with Bhutan. On record, it shares 106 kilometre with Afghanistan which in now being occupied by Pakistan.

In pursuance of Group of Ministers recommendations on border management, the Department of Border Management was created in the MHA in January, 2004 to pay focused attention to the issues relating to management of international land and coastal borders, strengthening of border policing and guarding, creation of infrastructure like roads, fencing and flood lighting on the borders and implementation of Border Area Development Programme.

Assam Rifles (AR), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) of Central Armed Police Forces are border guarding forces.

Assam Rifles is a border guarding force and the Lead Intelligence Agency for the Indo-Myanmar border and mandated to undertake Counter Insurgency operations in the North Eastern States and other areas as deemed necessary under the operational control of the Army.

BSF has been tasked to guarding 6,386.36 km (2,289.66 km - Indo-Pakistan Borders, 4,096.7 km Indo-Bangladesh Borders) of the International Borders and 237.2 km of the Line of Control (LC). India-China Border comprising 3,488 km is guarded by ITBP. SSB guards Indo-Nepal border and Indo-Bhutan Border. IANS