Ruchika M. Khanna, Tribune News Service
Hussainiwala (Ferozepur), January 17. The elections in Punjab are not just a testing time for the politicians in the state, the Border Security Force (BSF), guarding the 553-km border that Punjab shares with Pakistan on its west, too, is putting in extra efforts to curb smuggling of drugs, fake currency, arms and Pakistani SIM cards.
Top BSF officials informed The Tribune that over the past one month, the number of attempts by people from across the border to smuggle in drugs and fake currency along the Ferozepur and Tarn Taran sectors had increased substantially. “Though we have managed to thwart these attempts and seizures of smuggled items have seen a rise, there have been two glaring attempts at sneaking in items in Ferozepur and three attempts in the Tarn Taran sector.
As a result, we have increased our deployment substantially along the border,” said the official.
In the past one month, the BSF has seized four pistols, two revolvers, an Italian gun, Rs 13 lakh fake currency and over 6 kg of heroin. Officials said each consignment meant for their Indian counterparts here also had a few Pakistani SIM cards (of Pakistani telecom service providers Jazz, Mobilink, Telenor and Wahid).
“Though security regulations in India do not allow the telecom service providers to set up their towers near the border, many villages in these two sectors, located within 2 km of the border, receive signals from the Pakistani side. So the smugglers send in SIM cards with each consignment, which will help them stay in touch with their counterparts on the Indian side,” said the official.
The BSF has also arrested two persons in the last fortnight, who were trying to sneak in the Indian territory in the Tarn Taran sector. They are now being interrogated by the local police. The 553-km border that Punjab shares with Pakistan has fencing all along and a patrol route. To aid night vigilance, the entire border has floodlights, besides observation posts. BSF officials said in spite of this, they had seen glaring attempts from the other side to smuggle items by just throwing them from across the Pakistani side into the area between the fencing and the International border.