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29th-Jul-2017

New law with capital punishment on cards

By Special Correspondent

The government is now working to introduce a new law keeping provision of death penalty for the abuse and trafficking of intoxicating synthetic drugs Yaba, mostly smuggled in the country from neighbouring Myanmar.
 "The government is actively considering formulation of a new law where highest punishment will be death for the Yaba smugglers. Apart from different administrative steps, the government is also laying emphasis on the social movement to tackle the spreading and abuse of drugs," Home Minister Asaduzzamna Khan Kamal said on Tuesday.
The statement of Home Minister, given in observance of the Narcotics Day, mentioned the stringent measures against the drug traffickers as the drug abuse situation has taken a dangerous turn in the country.
 "The Home Ministry is working to make the country free from drugs in line with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's zero tolerance policy to the narcotics. The government is determined to tackle the present drug abuse situation," the Minister said.
According to an approximate estimate, the number of drug abusers in the country is about 70 to 80 lakh. Of the abusers, majority addicts are from young generation belonging to different educational institutions. Significantly, most of them take Yaba.
Against this backdrop, Asaduzzaman Kamal said: "The size of Yaba is so small that anyone can carry a lot of Yaba pills in his pocket. There is no carrying cost of it. And for that reason, it's a great business for the drugs dealers. The trade is also spreading across the rural areas or villages for the same."
Answering to a question, the Minister said: "Of the total smuggled consignment of Yaba, 70 per cent comes through the Naf River route. And so, fishing has been banned in the River Naf for some days. If necessity, the government would arrange alternate arrangement for the livelihood of the fishermen in that region."   
Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterating her government's firm stance against drugs had said she already directed authorities concerned to stop fish catching in the Naf River to check Yaba smuggling.
 'I've already directed the authorities concerned to stop fish catching for some days along Myanmar bordering Naf River as Yaba tablets are smuggled on this route through fishing boats,' she said. "We are discussing the issue with the Myanmar government," the PM said.
Officials of the Department of Narcotics Control said the Yaba smugglers have changed their route. They are now using small boats and fishing trawlers through the Karnafully waterways to transport the narcotics inside Bangladesh, they said. Echoing the same, security officials said the smugglers earlier had preferred to unload their consignments on the embankments of River Naf at Teknaf in the district of Cox's Bazar and later had used land routes for its supply chain.  But now they are taking their consignments directly inside Chittagong using riverine routes considering waterways safer for transporting the narcotics due to tight security at different points on the land routes, they said.
Last year, Dhaka and Yangon in a sector level meeting between BGB and Border Guard Police [BGP] of Myanmar had agreed to stop narcotic smuggling, especially Yaba, through border of the two countries.  But it did not work.