MALKANGIRI: Smuggling of arms and drugs through the Malkangiri-Sukma (Chhattisgarh) border is as simple as a movement of firewood or rations. The illegal trade is linked to the Maoists, who have been major cause of security concern for both the Governments.
The dense forest along the 26 km-long border, just about 14 km from here, provides a safe hideout for the Maoists.
The rebels with strong bases in neighbouring Sukma are having a free run in this part of the State since long. There have been several cases in the past when after committing a crime in Chhattisgarh, the rebels escape into the dense forest on the Malkangiri side or vice versa in absence of police deployment on either side.
Besides spreading roots in the region, the Maoists have extended support to ganja (cannabis) cultivators to win over the confidence of the villagers in areas where development is still a dream. They pump in the funds and provide modern equipment, luring vilagers as well as farmers into paddy cultivation to grow ganja in vast tracts of fertile valleys.
On the other hand, their requirement of arms is also met by smuggling through the border with the support of villagers, said sources.
Apart from weapons, smuggling of drugs and timber through the porous border is also rampant and remains unchecked.
Everyday, hundreds of vehicles ply between Malkangiri and Sukma without any security check, allowing the Maoists and other anti-social elements a free run to carry on with the illegal business.
Highly placed sources told this paper that management of the border is a tough job because of the rough terrain. The need of the hour is to guard the border on either side by security forces of both the States, particularly Malkangiri police, to check the influx of rebels from the neighbouring State.