In response to Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s urging, the Punjab government is set to push for the establishment of a second line of defence at the International Border. The government aims to deploy five IRB (Indian Reserve Battalions) to bolster security measures.
Although the demand was initially made in the 2020-21 period to counter separatist activities, it was reportedly put on hold. However, Governor Purohit’s recent visit to the border areas has prompted the government to revive the proposal. In an action taken report (ATR) submitted by the government to the Governor during his fourth tour of the districts bordering Pakistan, it was revealed that the Director General of Police (DGP) has sent a proposal to the Chief Minister for further consideration by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
Given the perceived high level of security threat, the Governor has also emphasized the need for continuous sharing of intelligence through the Subsidiary Multi-Agency Centre (SMAC) platform. The state government has highlighted that this unit has been operational since January 2009, handling inputs related to militancy, threats, espionage, trans-border smuggling, human trafficking, and more, with regular monthly meetings taking place.
Concerns over frequent incidents of drone infiltrations have prompted the Governor to urge the state to enhance its anti-drone measures. The government has acknowledged that 501 drone sightings have been reported since 2019.
“In addition to seizing 233.423 kg of heroin, along with arms and ammunition, we have utilized jammers to counter drones, and the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) is actively working on developing anti-drone technology,” stated the ATR.
Furthermore, the government has committed to installing CCTV cameras at strategic locations within four months, with an allocated budget of Rs 19.25 crore.
Government Lists Seizures in Action Taken Report
One recurring point of contention between Governor Purohit and the government revolves around the latter’s alleged failure to control drug smuggling. However, in its ATR, the state government revealed that between January 2017 and May 2023, a staggering 69,012 cases have been registered against drug smugglers, resulting in the seizure of Rs 29.82 crore in drug money.
“The seized contraband includes 3,419 kg of heroin, 3,797 kg of opium, 263,135 kg of poppy husk, 683 kg of charas, 48 kg of ICE, and 426,420 injections,” the ATR disclosed.
During a discussion with sarpanches (village heads) from Amritsar and Tarn Taran at Guru Nanak Dev University’s Syndicate Hall, Governor Banwari Lal Purohit praised the efforts of security personnel in thwarting drug smuggling activities. He also emphasized the importance of establishing village defence committees to enhance local security measures.