Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Notwithstanding the pandemic and the strictly monitored import and export system at Phuentsholing, those involved in smuggling of contrabands are still trying different means to smuggle in goods, including contraband substances.

Recently, a Bhutan truck (BP-2A-9343) loaded with bricks attempted to smuggle in contraband concealed under the bricks.

A local news outlet in Jaigaon, Connecting Nations, first reported it.

It said the truck was apprehended in Daldabari, on the outskirts of Jaigaon, on February 24 evening. The truck was supposed to enter Phuentsholing on the same day.

The truck had two cartons containing 35,000 pieces of spasmo proxyvon (SP Plus) hidden under bricks. The consignment’s worth was estimated at about INR 3 million. Two men across the border were arrested, according to sources.

Kuensel confirmed from sources the truck was registered and entering Phuentsholing under the “single item” import consignment. In this arrangement, a vehicle is allowed to bring in only one item into Phuentsholing. Drivers from across the border are used to transport goods but the vehicles have to be Bhutanese registered.

The consignments are directly taken to the godowns or the mini dry port (MDP) where the Indian drivers are kept in holding areas. After the vehicle is disinfected, Bhutanese drivers take it to Sorchen, the driver-switching point.

The police in Phuentsholing confirmed to Kuensel of the consignment.

Further, Phuentsholing police said that the truck belongs to a woman, Bumpa Lhaden, from Mongar.

The superintendent of police (SP) in Phuentsholing, Colonel Namgay Dorji said the truck was booked by an Indian individual, Biki, for a brick load and it was driven by an Indian driver to the Indian side for loading of bricks from the MDP on driver switching single item consignment.

“The Jaigaon police raided Baba Ganinath Iron Store at Daldabari, Jaigaon and recovered the drugs from the truck. The truck is impounded and under Jaigoan police station,” he said.

The SP said as per the information, the Indian drug peddler has been arrested and they are yet to get the information on the Bhutanese peddler involved.

“We are in constant touch with our counterparts and have requested to share inputs on Bhutanese side. We would like to thank and really appreciate the efforts of the SP of Alipurduar and Jaigoan police station and look forward for such cooperation.”

Meanwhile, after the consignments are cleared from the customs in Jaigaon, vehicles headed to Phuentsholing have about a 1.5-km stretch of road until they reach the second gate of Bau Bazaar. A source said there are high chances that vehicles will divert and try to load the contraband along this short stretch as there is not much checking.