Border Security Force (BSF) Guwahati Frontier seized more contraband in 2020 than 2019 from cattle smugglers and drug traffickers amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
The troops of 11 battalions under the Guwahati Frontier seized cattle heads, phensedyl, yaba tablets, ganja or marijuana, opium and other contraband products worth around 20.70 crore Rupees from January 1 to December 31, reports The Hindu.
The BSF guards 509 km of the border - 91,726 km of it through rivers and bodies of water - straddling the districts of West Bengal's Cooch Behar and Assam's Dhubri and South Salmara.
In 2020, 263 Indian and 35 Bangladeshi nationals were apprehended for various illegal activities along the border, compared to 219 and 27 in 2019, respectively.
This allowed us to seize more prohibited cough syrups and drugs, a spokesman for the BSF said on Tuesday.
Phensedyl is an addictive codeine-laced cough syrup, while each yaba pill is a strong mixture of stimulants, including methamphetamine and caffeine.
From the Cooch Behar and Dhubri sectors, cattle brought from northern India are typically smuggled out to Bangladesh. The number of cattle confiscated in these sectors was lower in 2020 than the 22,324 seized in 2019, BSF officials said.
The border guards seized 29,688 bottles of phensedyl in 2020, almost twice that in 2019. The seizure in the cases of marijuana (3,256.588 kg) and yaba tablets (68,684) last year was almost thrice the quantity in 2019.
"Apart from checking such crimes, we formed two anti-human trafficking units under the frontier. We have been resolving many border issues with the cooperation from the Border Guards Bangladesh," the spokesperson said, adding that the BSF had ramped up vigilance with digital sensors, drones, night-vision cameras and other gadgets in anticipation of crimes because of relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions across the country.