The Border Security Forces (BSF) has beefed up boat-related patrolling and check posts along the riverine border that separates India and Pakistan, to prevent infiltration and smuggling operations.
The BSF has identified around 140 porous gaps along the border in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. For instance, in the 553-km-long riverine belt through which the rivers Ravi, Sutlej and Beas flow and keep changing their courses, the BSF has introduced improvised systems to augment the security apparatus.
Boat patrolling and check posts are deployed along the Radcliffe Line at night. The Radcliffe Line was announced on August 17, 1947 as a boundary demarcation line between India and Pakistan upon the Partition of India. It was charged with equitably dividing 175,000 square miles (450,000 square kilometres) of territory with 88 million people. Today, its western side still serves as the Indo-Pakistani border and the eastern side serves as the India-Bangladesh border.
The riverine border has been a challenge for border guards to stop smugglers and other unwanted activities. In the past, the BSF has not only seized contraband drugs and fake currency but also gunned down many smugglers and recovered arms and ammunition from them.
BSF officials say that border fencing at some places have got damaged because of the water pressure.
Inspector general of the Border Range of the BSF Anil Paiwal said, “We have a round-the-year planning and strategy for overall domination of the border, especially at riverine gaps. The planning includes physical obstruction, deployment, lighting and alarm system etc. We also undertake ‘boat nakas’ on country made as well as motorboats in the river. For elaborate security, our commanders have the strategies and deployment for the domination of areas and our jawans are on a high state of alert.”
According to available data, between 2010 and 2014, the BSF seized 367 kilograms of heroin and 119 arms.
The drug menace in Punjab is reportedly of a very high level and authorities are hard pressed to counter it. A report also says that the consumption of synthetic drugs is more than that of heroin in Punjab.