According to the documents presented at the meeting, the factory in Cooch Behar is only 50 metres away from the international border in Kurigram. Another one is located within 400 metres of the border. The third one is in the North 24 Pargana district near the Satkhira border. This factory is located within 5 kilometres of the zero line of the border. The Narcotics Control Bureau has officially asked India to take necessary steps in this regard.
Once, phensedyl was widely available in Bangladesh, all of which came from India. A group of Indian drug dealers had set up numerous factories in the border areas so that they could easily smuggle phensedyl in Bangladesh. There had been many meetings between the two countries regarding this issue and at the behest of the Bangladesh government, the Indian government closed down many factories. However, it still cannot be said that phensedyl smuggling has been shut down completely.
Earlier, the government had launched a full-scale campaign against drugs and declared zero tolerance. But the government's operation was largely ineffective, as evidenced by the assassination of former army officer Sinha Mohammad Rashed. The police officer who led the anti-drug operation in Cox's Bazar area has been accused of being involved in these criminal activities.
Yaba tablets are hundred times more dangerous as compared to phensedyl. Once a person is addicted to this drug, it is hard to come out of this. The negotiation between the narcotics control bureaus of the two countries alone is not enough to attain a positive impact in this regard. Active cooperation from the governments of West Bengal and Meghalaya will also be needed.
We would expect the government to take necessary steps by holding meetings at a higher level, considering the importance of the issue. Though the Indian government has delayed the distribution of Teesta water at the behest of the West Bengal state government, it will not follow the same policy regarding the closure of yaba factories. They should keep in mind that if there is a yaba factory in West Bengal or Meghalaya or any other state of India, it would spread in the domestic market of India as well as Bangladesh.
Although yaba has been smuggled from Myanmar for years, the government has not been able to take any effective action. There is no need to explain how grave the situation would be if there are yaba factories in Indian territory bordering Bangladesh. We need to act as quickly as possible. There is no time for procrastination.