Chandigarh : The fencing of nearly 553 kilometres of international border on the side of Punjab has made it difficult for cross-border smugglers to pump narcotics into the country through the surface transport route. The smugglers instead have now started relying on the use of drones for the purpose, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), law and order, Arpit Shukla said on Thursday.

Shukla, while interacting with the media after the conclusion of an inter-state drug coordination meeting held in Sector 10, said various forces and agencies were cooperating with each other in order to curb the drug menace.

“We have held a number of meetings with Army authorities, with officials from BSF and with other nodal agencies. Punjab Police, on its part, has been strengthening its second line of defense. We have increased the number of troops in at least seven bordering districts to curb the drug menace. Punjab has been facing a drug problem and we are developing a mechanism to deal with it collectively, in coordination with all our neighboring states.”

Officials privy to Thursday’s meeting said that a general consensus was reached to launch a crackdown on certain pharmaceutical companies situated in Himachal Pradesh.

The meeting was attended by the DGP Uttarakhand, Special CP (crime) Delhi Police, IG Himachal Pradesh and some senior officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Narcotics Control Bureau, Chandigarh Police and the Chief Drug Controller of Chandigarh.

DGP (Haryana) PK Agrawal, who chaired the meeting, said, “A consensus was reached to initiate strict legal proceedings against certain Baddi based pharmaceutical companies, which have been found involved in the manufacture and supply of illegal drugs. The representative of Himachal Police is on board with this decision. We have also stressed on the need to initiate proceedings of attachment of properties of convicted drug smugglers in various states. Indeed, trans-border drug smuggling from Pakistan, through Punjab, has been a matter of concern for a long time. Joint effort is being made to curb the drug menace. In order to improve the effectiveness of this mechanism, it was decided to invite Uttar Pradesh Police and Rajasthan Police to such meetings in the future.”

DGP (Chandigarh), Praveer Ranjan, said, ” Deliberations on the source of drugs and psychotropic substances, the routes etc were held and strategies to combat the same were also discussed during the meeting. In the discussions held, it was decided that specific working groups will be formulated to work on specific areas of drug menace, so that time bound and decisive actions can be taken.”

Thursday’s coordination meeting was followed by a performance by children under the URJA- Ek Nayi Kiran Scheme of Chandigarh.