The drug mafia in Punjab has spread its tentacles to neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and the police there are finding it tough to contain it.
The Himachal police have launched a special drive in Una district that shares its boundary with Punjab.
The drive comes in wake of the death of a local youth following overdose of drugs. The death had led to a political furore as the locals had gheraoed a minister, demanding action against drug peddlers.
When the police began probing the incident, it found that the entire family of the victim was addicted to synthetic drugs. The police finding revealed that the drug mafia had made inroads into both urban and rural areas of the district.
“Drug menace is a serious issue. Prevalence of synthetic drugs has increased manifold.
Earlier, the use of synthetic drugs was limited to certain pockets, but suddenly the narcotic trade is booming in the area,” director general of police Sanjay Kumar told Hindustan Times.
“We have taken various steps to contain the drug trade spillover in our state. The police are also seeking the help of the health department in containing the menace,” said Kumar.
The police have launched a special drive to nab those involved in the narcotic trade. Police's crime branch - crime investigation department -- has formed a special team headed by the Una superintendent of police to tackle the clandestine synthetic drug trade in the area.
The special police team was sent from Shimla just two days ago. “It's not that we want only to nab the peddlers but a special team has been directed to the trace the origin of the trade,” said Kumar.
The investigation has revealed that certain pharmaceutical firms that have their units in the state were also involved in drug peddling. “Certain firms are suspected to be backing the trade,” said Kumar. Mostly painkillers and cough syrups are being smuggled.
Containing the illicit drug trade is not that easy for the police, who are struggling with usual constraints. The police are not getting much help from the health department as drug inspectors so far have been reluctant to assist the police drive. “The police had sought a court warrant to conduct a raid on one of the pharma firms but astonishingly the dug inspector went missing.
The police cannot conduct raid on pharma companies on their own,” said a senior police official.
Not only the health staff but even cops have been acting as informers for drug peddlers. The police recently transferred 17 policemen who were suspected of passing on information to drug peddlers.
Tackling drug menace is one thing, what's more ironical is that there is hardly any de-addiction centre in the state. “There is need to open up more de-addiction centres in the state,” says inspector general narcotics Satwant Atwal Trivedi.
BJP hits out at govt
The BJP has demanded that the government constitute a task force to combat the drug abuse in the state. Blaming the ruling Congress government, BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt said the government was not serious in curbing the drug abuse. “It seems the government is patronising the drug mafia in the state, whereas it should act sternly against it,” he said.
He said the youth, especially schoolchildren, were turning to drugs, which is a serious thing. “As the youth is our future, we should try to save them from drug abuse,” Dutt said, adding that the government should constitute a task force to combat the drug abuse.