Contraceptives in the borders
A cheap brand of contraceptive from Bangladesh is being smuggled in large quantity to Dhubri district in Assam which lies at a close proximity to the international border. The region, which is already quite popular for smuggled products including food, clothes, accessories and medicines is now circulating the Bangladeshi oral contraceptive pill called ‘Sukhi’.
The pill which is distributed for free in Bangladesh has been popular there for the last seven or eight years. “In Dhubri, Mankachar, and other border areas, the use of Sukhi is very common. I do not know of its efficacy but people in these places seem to believe it works,” said Illias Ali, nodal officer of the no-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) programme in Assam to Times of India.
The pills have become so popular because of its price. Sukhi is sold at Rs 10 per strip of 10 pills. It is way cheaper than popular Indian contraceptive pills like the I-pill that costs around Rs 75. The administration is also aware of Sukhi. They opine that since the government’s free contraceptive pills often fail to reach the remote border villages of Assam and that’s why women in these areas are becoming highly dependent on Sukhi. Though The Total Fertility Rate in Dhubri is declining since 2009, but according to census 2011, it was the second-most populous district in the state comprising 19,29,258 people. The doctors and others from medical fraternity are doubtful about Sukhi’s composition. They fear it might result into more side-effects among women that are still unknown.
The Illegal trade that festers on the border
It is estimated that informal exports from India is about as large as formal exports at $4 billion. Also a World Bank report says that “Bangladesh’s smuggled imports from India during 2002/03 were approximately $500 million, or about 40% of recorded imports from India, and approximately 30% of total imports (recorded plus smuggled) from India.”
The Logical Indian appeals to the government to secure the India – Bangladesh border and formalize all the illegal trade which can boost the formal economy. The informal trade as given in the news above could be potentially dangerous to people’s health and country’s wealth. We request India to hold fresh talks with Bangladesh to asphyxiate the blossoming illegal trade on the porous borders between India & Bangladesh.