The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday sanctioned two new zonal units for the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) at Bangalore and Patna.

The Bangalore unit will have jurisdiction over Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, while the unit in Patna will cover Bihar and Jharkhand. Each unit will be headed by an officer of the rank of Zonal Director.

According to sources in the Ministry, three regional offices to be headed by Deputy Directors-General and two intelligence cells at Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh have also been sanctioned.

The agency will get about 250 posts in different ranks for better monitoring and prevention of drug-related offences.

With this reorganisation, the jurisdiction of the south zonal unit, headquartered at Chennai, would be reduced to Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and the Union Territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep.

Similarly, with the creation of the Patna zonal unit, the area of operation of the Kolkata unit would be confined to West Bengal, Orissa, Sikkim and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Lucknow unit will cover Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The two new zonal units became operational on Tuesday. Chennai zonal unit Director S. Davidson Devasirvatham was given additional charge of the Bangalore unit.

“Since the southeastern coast is vulnerable to drug trafficking, the Centre has sanctioned an intelligence cell at Madurai. Earlier we had a shortage of manpower. Now there is scope for more focused operations and surveillance,” Mr. Devasirvatham said.

Enhancing vigil

The sanctioning of about 250 additional posts would enhance the presence of the NCB in new places.

“We had no physical presence in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh till recently. The bifurcation of two zonal units will help in enhancing vigil in vulnerable areas,” he said.

Mr. Devasirvatham said the drug test kits used by the agency were of international standards, adding that investigators were in touch with other drug law enforcing agencies in India and abroad for updating professional skills.

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