GUWAHATI, Aug 24 - Cattle smuggling from Assam and Meghalaya to Bangladesh has witnessed a sharp decline and one major factor that led to this, according to security agencies, is increased vigil in Central India�s �cow corridor�.
According to statistics available with Customs, in Dhubri sector, the seizures decreased by around 97 per cent till June this year as compared with the figures of last year. Between April and July this year, 158 cattle heads were seized and 88 smuggling cases detected. During the corresponding period last year, the number of cattle heads seized was 4,511 and cases detected was 278.
Customs officials relate the number of seizures to the flow of cattle to the border for smuggling � a drop in seizure means a decline in illegal trade.
The decline in smuggling was identical along the Meghalaya border. BSF statistics reveal that while 1,74,469 cattle heads were seized during 2016, it dropped to 1,11,615 in 2017. Till May 31 this year, BSF�s Meghalaya Frontier seized 16,847 cattle heads along the 444-km Meghalaya-Bangladesh border.
BSF sources said multiple-factors led to the fall in cattle smuggling, the most important one being the pro-activeness of the Central government.
While supply lines were also blocked by security agencies, cow vigilantism in Central India � from where the cattle is supplied � was another key factor that led to a drop in the illegal trade.
�Moreover both the BSF and State police have increased its strength on the border and enhanced vigil. The BSF is implementing the BOLD-QIT project (Border Electronically Dominated � QRT Interception Technique) in unfenced riverine area of Brahmaputra and its tributary rivers in Dhubri. The project aims at installing a technical setup under the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS), which will enable them to equip the Indo-Bangla border with multiple surveillance equipment � like various kinds of sensors and cameras � under a command centre. Any movement along the border is monitored using that technology,� a BSF official said.
BOLD-QIT is an indigenous project of BSF for providing technological solutions for unfenced riverine of Dhubri. Rs 100 crore have been sanctioned by MHA for this pilot project to cover unfenced riverine area of Dhubri. The tentative date for completion of this project is December, 2018. For providing technological solutions for curbing trans-border crimes and illegal immigration, several technological solutions are being implemented, like installation of microwave and UHF towers, installation of electro optic sensors, static cameras and radars, tethered UAVs, distributive acoustic sensors and laying of optical fibre cable.
Sources also said that the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) has �realized� that most firing incidents on the border is related to cattle smuggling and as such have acted proactively on the vulnerable stretches.
�During our meetings with the BGB, we have been trying to impress upon them to curb smuggling. They are now convinced that the firing incidents on the border are related to cattle smuggling and now they too want this to stop,� the official said.