Chandigarh: Drug-sniffing dogs, deployed for the first time in Punjab to check transportation and distribution of drugs ahead of Assembly polls, have helped the law enforcement agencies to recover 58 kg of poppy husk.
Apprehending distribution of drugs by political parties to lure the voters, the Election Commission had ordered police to deploy 22 sniffer dogs at prominent places including inter- state borders, railway stations, bus-stands to check the movement of narcotic susbtances in the poll-bound state.
“It is for the first time that 22 narcotics-trained sniffer dogs have been deployed during polls in Punjab. So far, dogs have led to successful recovery of 58 kg of poppy husk in Barnala and Bathinda districts,” said additional director general of police V K Bhawra, who is also nodal officer for the state elections.
In the first case in Barnala district, on specific input, police raided a house but were unable to find any narcotic substance.
“Then Kerry – a white sniffer dog – started barking near the heap of bricks lying in a verandah of the house. When bricks were removed, 4kg of poppy husk was recovered,” Punjab inspector general of police (IG) and director of State Narcotics Control Bureau, Ishwar Singh said.
It eliminated the need to carry out the search of the whole house to find the contraband, he added.
Poppy husk is a banned substance and it is popularly known as ‘Bhukki’ in rural areas of Punjab.
In the second incident, a sniffer dog helped police to recover a huge quantity of poppy husk from a car in Bathinda district.
“Few days ago, during a special checking drive a car was stopped for search in Bathinda. Sam – a golden coloured Labrador – deployed there went to back side of the car and started barking. When the vehicle was searched, 54 kg of poppy husk was recovered,” Singh said, adding that the canine had come in as an aid in effective detection of consealed drugs.
Deployment of highly trained dogs at key locations, like at the inter-state borders had also helped police in doing away the need for physical checking of each and every vehicle.
“If each vehicle is being searched at inter-state border, then it can lead to huge traffic jam,” said the IG.
Singh said a sum of Rs 1.25 crore has been sanctioned by the Punjab government for the training of dogs at Punjab Police Academy in Phillaur.
The canines have been hired for a month from the Punjab Home Guard Training Institute at Dera Bassi, where these are trained in collaboration with a foreign partner.