Tripura’s 107 km-long boundary with Mizoram is a cause of concern for law enforcement agencies as most of the drugs from Myanmar enter the state through that border.
Vigil has been stepped up along the border between the two northeastern neighbours to prevent drug trafficking, said Bhanupada Chakraborty, Superintendent of Police of North Tripura district, which shares the boundary with Mizoram.
“Law enforcement agencies are working hard to curb drug trafficking but smuggling of drugs especially heroin continues along the inter-state border,” Mr Chakraborty told PTI on Monday.
Chief Minister Manik Saha has declared a war against increasing drug trafficking and law enforcement agencies have adopted a zero-tolerance policy to curb the drug menace.
Till August 2023, a total of 746 people were booked in connection with 445 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) cases and contraband items including heroin amounting to Rs 91.84 crore was seized during the period, according to a police report.
“Myanmar appears a potential threat to the war against drugs declared by Tripura… We are sure these drugs are coming from Myanmar. Mizoram is just a transit point as far as drug trafficking is concerned,” the police officer said.
According to Mr Chakraborty, drug mafias sometimes also use Silchar-Churaibari (entry point to Tripura from Assam) to transport drug items.
“We often foiled drug smuggling under Churaibari police station despite having severe staff constraints. The police need to be strengthened further to intensify war against the drug trafficking”, the SP said.
“Police have sent two or three teams to Mizoram in connection with some specific NDPS cases but they did not make much progress as the origin of the drug peddlers could not be found. In the course of interrogation and probe, we came to know that Mizoram border is being used as a safe corridor for trafficking drugs to the state,” Officer in Charge (OC), Damcherra police station, Raju Bhowmik told PTI.
Three police stations- Damcherra, Khedacherra and Vangmum share 107 km inter-state border with Mizoram with a skeleton staff.
“At present, Damcherra police station has only two sub-inspectors along with one inspector and six to eight constables and some Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans. It is very difficult to maintain close control at Nripen Chakraborty setu (bridge) which connects Mizoram’s Mamit district to Damcherra in North Tripura,” the OC said.
The bridge over river Longai connects Tripura and Mizoram.
Mr Bhowmik said, “We require adequate staff to maintain strict vigil at the entry point to Damcherra. Around 40/50 vehicles are coming to Damcherra through the bridge daily. If we want to check all vehicles, more policemen are needed at the check gate at Damcherra”.
Taking advantage of skeleton police presence, the drug mafia are using Damcherra to smuggle drugs along with goods to the northeastern state, he said.
North Tripura, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Arunabh Chakraborty said the number of injected drug users (IDUs) among the inmates of Bruhapra resettlement village (Bru camp) under Damcherra police station has been on the rise over the past few years.
“… Tripura State AIDS Control Society (TSACS) is working in the field to check the menace. We have identified some potential pockets of drug users and opened two Oral Substitution Therapy (OST) clinics in two Public Health Centres (PHCs) at Jampui Hills (Vangmun) and Damcherra to provide them medical attention”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) will soon have a zonal-level office in Agartala to curb drug and narcotics trafficking effectively, officials said.
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