The Border Security Force (BSF) is totally overhauling its deployments in Malda district of West Bengal, ill-reputed as the national hub for Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) notes and illegal narcotics smuggling.
The overhaul move has been initiated following a caution sent by the Union ministry of home affairs to the West Bengal home department that Indo- Bangladesh border sector in Malda district of West Bengal, is increasingly becoming a corridor for movement of cross- border terrorists.
According to the BSF commandant, deputed in the Maldah sector. AK Hotker, the border guard force is involving the local residents in the Indo- Bangladesh border villages in the Malda sector in getting information about outsiders frequenting these bordering villages. “Without the participation of the villagers we cannot really perform our duties of nabbing the cross- border terrorists using this bordering sector as the corridor,” he said.
Attempts by this correspondent to contact BSF’s inspector general north Bengal, R MIshra failed. When called his secretary fielded the call and said, “The IG is on a border patrolling tour now and hence not available for comments,”
According to sources from the border guard agency of the Union government, four major steps are being taken as a part of the agency’s overhauling exercise in the Malda sector.
The first is increasing the deployment of the BSF battalions in the Malda sector from the existing four to six. The second is deputing an experienced officer in the rank of deputy commandant in charge of each of the 58 border outposts (BOPs) in the Malda sector replacing the earlier arrangement of an Inspector in charge of each BOP.
The third major overhaul, is that every cordon & search and ambush operation should be led by an officer minimum to the rank of assistant commandant.
The fourth and the final part of the overhaul is deputing a specialized team of BSF officers and staff with specialization in marine combat to guard the 20 kilometer long riverine border in the Malda sector.
In the wake of the recent demonetization of old high- value currencies of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations, Malda, the erstwhile national FICN hub, has witnessed a trend where operators of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) racket were forced to shift to opium smuggling in a major way.
The West Bengal excise department has witnessed earnest preparations in the district for illegal cultivation of poppy, the principal raw material for production of banned narcotics, that prompted BSF as well as Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to increase vigilance in the region.
The areas identified in the Malda districts by these two agencies of increased illegal poppy cultivation included the “Panchayat” areas panchayat areas like Chaknagar, Salaidanga, Karkach, Malatipur and Chandrapara, which were incidentally the pockets in Malda districts where from the FICN rackets used to be most active.