KP Sharma

Despite stringent measures implemented by the police and relevant agencies to combat drug smuggling, incidents of smuggling have continued to increase, raising questions about the methods through which these drugs infiltrate the country.

According to police records, the number of arrests related to drugs has consistently risen each year.

In 2018, 1,200 individuals were arrested, followed by 1,300 in 2019 and a significant increase to 1,700 in 2021 and 2022.

In the first initial six months of 2023, police arrested 1,500 people in drug-related cases, approaching the total for the entire previous year.

The data indicates that on average, the initial six months witnessed a daily arrest rate double the rate of previous year.

The police, however, attribute the increase in arrests to heightened vigilance and the installation of an integrated check post (ICP) along the highway, facilitating thorough inspections.

“Many smugglers were apprehended at these check posts based on tip-offs and surprise checks also led to numerous arrests,” an official from the police headquarter said.

While this initiative has proven effective in tracking down the smugglers, the question remains:from where and through what means smugglers succeed in smuggling drugs.

Police  officials said that the southern border remains porous, with numerous illegal entry points that poses a challenge for security personnel to effectively monitor illicit activities along the border.

An official explained that once drugs reach border towns, it becomes more accessible for smugglers to transport it to urban areas where the demand is high.

It is learnt that smugglers use various strategies to evade police scrutiny at the integrated check post (ICP), such as utilising illegal routes and concealing illicit substances within various items that are not easily detectable by personnel at the check post.

The official stressed on the impracticality of conducting thorough checks on everyone daily, especially with a large number of people traveling daily.

A police source said that the increase in drug arrests increased after the Covid-19 pandemic.