The Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) seeks to deploy a dog squad round the clock at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, aiming to stop the smuggling of narcotics.
Recently, large volumes of narcotics were seized at the country's largest and busiest airport, so an expert narcotics team with a dog squad would be helpful in detecting the illegal consignments, said DNC officials.
Kusum Dewan, director (operation and intelligence) of the DNC, told The Business Standard that they have already sent a proposal to the home ministry for approval to deploy a dog squad at the Dhaka airport.
"There would be an 18-member squad. Six DNC officials with sniffing dogs will be on duty at the airport in eight-hour shifts. These squads would work closely with the Aviation Security, which is currently providing security inside the airport," he explained.
"After the deployment of a dog squad at the Dhaka airport, we want to deploy such squads in all other ports in phases," he said, adding that if an expert team like a dog squad is present during the security check, narcotics can be detected easily.
Hamidur Rahman Khan, joint secretary (narcotics wing) of the home ministry, told the media on Tuesday that a decision has been made to form a dog squad in the DNC.
"We have asked the DNC to provide us with details regarding their capacity and plans of utilising the dog squad. We will take further decisions upon receiving their report," he added.
Transnational syndicates have been using Bangladesh as a route to smuggle banned amphetamine powder to other countries after smuggling it into the country from neighbouring India, the DNC recently revealed while investigating a case of seizing 12.32kg amphetamine powder from the cargo village area in September this year.
In mid-October, the airport authorities seized 38,900 pieces of Yaba tablets from the export cargo village of the airport. Those were supposed to be smuggled to Saudi Arabia on a flight.
Meanwhile, Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, director of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, said currently there are six dual view scanners and four EBS machines at the airport.
Every cargo shipment needs customs verification and if any other agency wants, they can work jointly with the customs, he added.
Besides, two dog squads – one from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police and one from the Border Guard Bangladesh – visit the airport regularly, he said, adding, "We also ask them to come to the airport whenever we find it necessary."
Asked about the DNC proposal, group captain Touhid said it is a government decision but they have been doing all the necessary security check-ups as per the regulation and seizing illegal consignments whenever they detect one.
Regarding the necessity of the dog squad, Mosaddeque Hossain Reza, additional director (intelligence) of the DNC, said Bangladesh is not a narcotics producing country, but it is located at the centre of the "Golden Triangle" (Myanmar, Thailand and Laos) and the "Golden Crescent" (Afghanistan and Pakistan) which produces illicit opium in huge volumes.
"Transnational rackets are taking advantage of this location and using the Bangladeshi airport as a route," he said.
Shamsul Haque Tuku, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the home ministry, said they are aware of the DNC proposal and have already taken the necessary steps.