BSF finds 82 drivers with fake licences plying trucks across Indo-Bangla border
In a surprise check at Petrapole Integrated Check Post (ICP) in West Bengal, the largest land port at the Indo-Bangladesh border, the Border Security Force (BSF) in the last two days has found that at least 82 truck drivers were using fake driving licences to ply trucks to and from Bangladesh, a trend which has major security implications.
The Customs and Land Port Authority of India have been informed that drivers operating on fake licences cannot be allowed and a police case is being registered by the force to investigate the larger conspiracy.
The border guarding force had received inputs that a few drivers were involved in trans-border crimes such as smuggling of gold, silver, phensedyl syrup, drugs etc, while engaged in export and import of goods between India and Bangladesh, following which surprise checks were carried out at the Petrapole ICP on January 16 and 17.
While checking the authenticity of drivers’ licences, it found 52 fake licences on the first day and then 30 such fake licences in 30 more trucks the next day.
BSF spokesperson Krishna Rao said all 82 fake driving licences have been handed over to the Customs. “The concerned authorities of Customs and Land Port Authority of India were conveyed that BSF cannot allow those trucks to go to Bangladesh whose drivers are found in the possession of a fake driving licence,” he said.
He further said – “No driver with a fake driving licence can be allowed to ply trucks to Bangladesh at any cost because such drivers obtain fake Car Passes from the Customs Department on the basis of driving licences upon which BSF allows the trucks to enter Bangladesh.”
To ensure smooth running of trade between India and Bangladesh, BSF has also informed Bangaon Transport Association across the border to follow the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) so that the security and interests of the nations are not compromised.
Petrapole ICP is the largest land port in South Asia, located along the international border between India and Bangladesh, at a distance of about 80 km from Kolkata. Petrapole (India)-Benapole (Bangladesh) is an important land border crossing for both the countries in terms of trade and passenger movement and nearly 30 per cent of land-based trade between India and Bangladesh takes place through here.
Since it was operationalised in February 2016, the Petrapole ICP has witnessed an increasing number of passenger movement with an average of 22 lakh people crossing the border post on either side each year.
Detailing the reasons why the BSF has decided to beef up security at Petrapole, a BSF spokesperson said the force seized smuggled gold worth around ₹1,44,22,356 from a transporter while he was trying to escape on a bike on January 4.
The gold was smuggled from Bangladesh by concealing it inside an import bound truck.
Similarly, on July 19 last year, gold worth ₹1.71 crore was seized from an Indian driver coming from Bangladesh.
On August 21, 2021, Saudi Riyal worth ₹1,68,38,500 were recovered from an empty Indian truck returning from Bangladesh after unloading export goods.
Acting on an intelligence input, the BSF seized 50 kg Marijuana from an Indian truck on January 9 this year apart from several seizures of illegal items including narcotics in the last few months.
Rao said that “in all these illegal activities, roles of Indian transporters, labourers, drivers, helpers and different agents and sub-agents have been established”.
“It is also worth mentioning here that sometimes, drivers with fake driving licences tend to meet road accidents. Even BSF lost one of its jawans when he was overrun by a truck driver in the month of October 2021. Therefore, it is necessary that BSF must check the validity of the driving licence,” he said.