Wed, 25 May 2022

New Delhi [India], January 18 (ANI): Taking cognizance of the spate in the smuggling activities at the Petrapole Integrated Checkpost (ICP) in the recent past, the Border Security Force (BSF) has seized 82 fake driving licences and completely banned such drivers carrying fake driving licences from plying trucks to Bangladesh.

ICP Petrapole, located along the international border between India and Bangladesh, is the largest land port in South Asia. It is situated at a distance of about 80 kilometres from the city of Kolkata, West BengalPetrapole (India)-Benapole (Bangladesh) is an important land border crossing for India and Bangladesh both in terms of trade and passenger movement. Nearly 30 per cent of land-based trade between India and Bangladesh takes place through ICP Petrapole.

Since its operationalization in February 2016, the ICP has been witnessing an increasing number of passenger movements with an average of 22 lakh people crossing the border post on either side each year.

The BSF on Tuesday said its step to ban drivers with fake driving licences is among many steps taken to upgrade its surveillance and vigilance measures.

Since a few days, the BSF said, there were inputs that few drivers are involved in carrying out trans-border crimes such as smuggling of gold, silver, phensedyl syrup and drugs while engaged in the export and import of goods between India and Bangladesh.

Consequently, on January 16, the BSF said its personnel carried out the surprise checking of the authenticity of the driving licences of the drivers who are engaged in the export and import by road through ICP-Petrapole.

"BSF found fake driving licenses in the possession of the drivers and therefore, seized 52 such driving licenses. On January 17, again 30 more trucks drivers were found in the possession of a fake driving license. Accordingly, BSF handed over a total of 82 fake driving licences to the Customs," said the BSF, a border guarding force under the Ministry of Home Affairs mandated to ensure no illegal activity at the India-Bangladesh border.

"The concerned authorities of Customs and Land Port Authority of India were conveyed that BSF cannot allow those trucks to go to Bangladesh whose drivers are found in the possession of a fake driving license," the BSF further said.

The BSF stated that "no driver with a fake driving licence can be allowed to ply the trucks to Bangladesh at any cost because such drivers obtain fake Car Passes from the Customs Department on the basis of driving licenses upon which BSF allow the trucks to go inside Bangladesh".

In order to ensure the smooth running of the trade between India and Bangladesh, BSF has informed Bangaon Transport Association to follow the Standing Operating Procedures so that the security and interests of the nations are not compromised, the force said.

Explaining about reasons on which BSF has beefed up the security at the ICP, the force said its personnel on January seized smuggled gold worth around Rs 1,44,22,356 from a transporter while he was trying to escape on a bike from the security cover at ICP Petrapole.

"It was subsequently revealed that this gold was smuggled from Bangladesh by concealing inside an import bound truck from Bangladesh," the BSF said.

A similar seizure was made on July 19 last year when gold worth Rs 1,71,80,420 was seized here by BSF from an Indian driver incoming from Bangladesh, the BSF said.

In yet another incident on August 21 last year, the BSF said, foreign currency (Saudi Riyal) worth Rs 1,68,38,500 was also seized from an empty Indian truck returning from Bangladesh after unloading export goods.

Acting on intelligence, 50 kg of Marijuana was seized by troops of BSF from an Indian truck on January 9 this year at this ICP.

Besides, the BSF also said, numerous seizures of illegal items including narcotics are made by its troops deployed at ICP Petrapole.

In all these illegal activities, roles of Indian transporters, labourers, drivers, helpers and different agents and sub-agents have been established, the BSF said.

"It is also worth mentioning here that sometimes, drivers with fake driving licenses tend to meet road accidents. Even BSF lost the life of one of its Jawan when he was overrun by a truck driver in the month of October 2021. Therefore, it is necessary that BSF might check the validity of the driving license," the BSF added. (ANI)

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