The Centre proposes to spend over Rs 3,000 crore on creating border infrastructure in Punjab and Rajasthan along the international border to stop smuggling of drugs and infiltration from Pakistan.
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has approved the proposal for construction of 1,426 km of lateral and 752 km of axial roads in Punjab and Rajasthan at a cost of Rs 2,990 crore while another Rs 303 crore will be spent on upgrading border floodlights in Punjab.
Besides, a committee was set up last month to examine gaps in fencing and other vulnerabilities even where there were no physical gaps in the border and to suggest a comprehensive approach to fix these.
The MHA told the Punjab and Haryana high court that the proposal for cement concrete pavement on 140-km stretch in Punjab beneath the fencing along the Indo-Pak border had been approved. The work would be completed in two years, the MHA said.
The information was given during the resumed hearing of a suo motu petition, wherein the high court is monitoring the measures being taken by Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to fight the drug menace. Initially, the petition emerged from the Jagdish Bhola drug racket controversy.
The MHA told the court that the BSF proposal to provide 1,093 ambush-cum-patrol nakkas on Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh borders, including 52 on the Punjab border, was being processed.
The high court bench of justice Surya Kant and justice AB Chaudhri was informed that the barbed wire fencing and floodlighting had been completed along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab except for riverine stretches.
The high court bench directed former Punjab DGP (prisons) Shashi Kant to peruse the report and submit additional measures needed to be taken by the BSF or the Centre for further strengthening the border security.
During the hearing, CBI counsel Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu informed the court that the MEA had taken up the extradition matters with respective countries of those against whom red-corner notices in the Bhola drug racket case had been issued.
The high court was displeased over the report submitted by the experts’ committee constituted by Punjab to prepare a curriculum for colleges and schools for different age groups to spread awareness on harmful effects of drugs. The court directed the committee to complete the exercise in two months and submit its report. The court directed Punjab to submit a status report on the facilities of de-addiction centres in its central jails, funds provided to these centres in the past two years and the availability of staff.