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Punjab seeks mandatory registration of drones to fight cross border drone terrorism

DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone along with 2 kg heroin recovered by BSF troops near International border in village Jodhawala, Fazilka Punjab. (Photo: BSF)

In a bid to curtail the menace of cross border drone terrorism and smuggling, Punjab government has asked Ministry of Home Affairs to mandate compulsory registration of drones. Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann was attending a virtual meeting  on ‘Drug Trafficking and National Security’ chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah wherein he cited cross border smuggling of arms and narcotics through unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as one of the biggest problems of Punjab.

Mann not just demanded registration but also installation of anti-drone technology or jammers along the international border with Pakistan to check the smuggling of drugs and weapons. “A state-of-the-art regional drone forensic lab may be set up in Punjab, preferably in Amritsar, in order to trace the origin, destination and route maps of drones,” he said.

Mann while speaking on the issue said that the Punjab government had been fighting against the menace on the border with all its might .He highlighted that Punjab is the first state to constitute a special task force (STF) to effectively implement laws against drug trafficking, apprehend traffickers and disrupt the supply chain.

“We have adopted a three-pronged strategy of enforcement, de-addiction & prevention (EDP) against the menace of drugs. It comprises the enforcement of laws against drug trafficking, de-addiction of victims of drug abuse and prevention through the protection of vulnerable sections, students, youths and the general public,” added Mann. He said his government has allotted a plot measuring 2,000 square yards to the Narcotics Control Bureau and approved 2.50 acres of land in Amritsar for the construction of a regional office, zonal residential center and a dedicated narco-forensic science laboratory. He also sought access to the customs database so that suspected containers coming from other countries are scrutinised.

He also batted for the reduction of the commercial quantity of heroin from the existing 250 grams to 25 grams to check peddling at the intermediate level. According to state records, around 1,000 kg of heroin, 56 hand grenades, 126 pistols and revolvers, 11 AK-47 and other rifles and 9.5 kg of RDX have been seized from drone-based deliveries till May 16 this year. And from April 1, 2022 till July 13, 2023, 16,554 cases have been registered under the NDPS Act and 22,349 smugglers have been arrested, Mann added. The Punjab government has attached properties valuing Rs 26.72 crore of the accused.

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