Phensidyl floods country for lax border patrol | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, July 11, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, July 11, 2009

Phensidyl floods country for lax border patrol

Home ministry orders special anti-drug drive

Phensidyl, a popular drug among youths, has been entering the country in huge quantity due to lax border patrol over the past few months and the negligence on the part of the government in implementing anti-smuggling measures.
An internal security report recently revealed that Phensidyl bottles flooded the country due to lax security following the carnage at the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Headquarters at Pilkhana, sources said.
Home ministry officials said lax border patrol has created opportunities for the smugglers' syndicates, corrupt law enforcers and influential ruling party members to make a quick buck through such illicit trade.
They said about five lakh Phensidyl bottles are entering the country through different border points a day. This huge supply led to a decline in its price. Before the BDR mutiny, a bottle of Phensidyl sold at Tk 1,000, but the price came down below Tk 500 in recent months as the drug is now easily available.
Against this backdrop, the home ministry directed the divisional commissioner, deputy commissioners and the law enforcement agencies to launch special anti-smuggling drives and recover drugs.
"I came to know that Phensidyl smuggling has become a dangerous phenomenon. We discussed the issue in a recent meeting of the divisional commissioners at the home ministry," Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Shikder told The Daily Star.
"Combating the smuggling of Phensidyl was the main agenda of the meeting. We have asked the police, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and even the members of the armed forces involved in the Operation Rebel Hunt to launch drives on regular basis," he added.
The home ministry also asked Rab to form a separate team to fight the menace.
The national committee to resist smuggling, which is headed by the home minister, failed to hold a meeting in the last six months. Its last meeting was held on January 15.
The Department of Narcotics Control (DNC), which is responsible for checking drug trafficking inside the country, also appears to be ineffective in tackling the menace. "We can only recover a small number of bottles out of those being smuggled in every day," said a senior officer of the department.
According to the internal security report submitted to the home ministry, Phensidyl bottles are entering the country in huge quantity. "The younger generation is becoming addicted to it and leading themselves astray. They are also getting involved in various social crimes," it added.
The report said that as the border patrol had been lax following the Pilkhana events, the local smugglers' syndicates with the help of Indian border guards smuggled in various drugs.
It also said that Phensidyl are coming in huge quantity through the borders in the three districts -- Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur and Kurigram.
A government official in Lalmonirhat said, "Border of this district has always been used to bring in drugs. But nowadays huge quantity of Phensidyl is being smuggled with the help of ruling party people."
Train, bus, truck, microbus, ambulance, pick-up van and water transport are being used to carry the drugs to the capital city and other places, the report said, adding that the present operatives of the syndicates are more active than in the past.
The report suggested motivating the BDR jawans to strengthen the border patrol and involving the police, Rab and the administration of the bordering districts in checking the smuggling.
"This menace can be curbed easily if members of the armed forces of the Operation Rebel Hunt are engaged in anti-smuggling drives," it added.
The report also emphasised the strong role of police but said the police personnel who have been posted in bordering districts and upazilas for long have developed good relations with local drug traders and smugglers. "They should be transferred immediately."

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