GUWAHATI: As the 'war on drugs' is underway in the State, investigations are dependent on the Directorate of Forensic Science, Assam. However, due to an acute shortage of manpower at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Kahilipara cases are piling up, adversely affecting investigations.
In the FSL, there are a total of 12 divisions — Physics, Questioned Documents, Drugs and Narcotics, Explosive, Ballistic, Cyber Forensic, DNA, Serology, Biology, Chemistry, Toxicology, and Photography.
According to reports, 58 of the 152 sanctioned posts are vacant at the Directorate of Forensic Science, Assam. Sources said that in the Drugs and Narcotics division, only two junior-level forensic experts are working. As the division lacks senior forensic experts, people from other divisions are working in the Drugs and Narcotics division.
The service of this laboratory is utilized by various investigating departments of Assam and the other northeastern States. Apart from the Assam Police, the other organizations that utilize its services are the NIA (National Investigating Agency), Army, BSF, and NFR, Customs and Central Excise, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, and the Narcotic Control Bureau.
It is to be noted that during the Congress regime, the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory was established in Jorhat in 2013. However, to date, it is not operational. Out of a total of 15 sanctioned posts, as many as 12 have been filled up in the laboratory. But, the 12 people appointed for the Jorhat laboratory are working at the Directorate of Forensic Science, Kahilipara.
During the State Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (June 16), Information and Public Relations Minister Pijush Hazarika underlined that the Cabinet has decided to set up four FSLs – one each at Silchar, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Bongaigaon.
"The State has only one FSL now. It leads to delay in the FSL report, and that is one of the reasons behind the poor conviction rate in the State," said Hazarika.