Call it price rise or effective check, the cost of poppy husk has almost doubled in the region over the past two years.
From two more smugglers arrested on Thursday, the police claim to have gathered that the price of 35-kg bag of poppy husk had rise from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 40,000 since 2011.
The counter-intelligence (CI) police of Bathinda arrested the two men on a charge of keeping poppy husk worth Rs. 22 lakhs. Binder Singh and Gurpiar Singh of Nahinaan Wala village in the district are the suspects. The police claim to have seized 18.4-quintal poppy husk from both.
The poppy husk was seized from a truck, in which it was covered with newspaper bundles. The leader of the CI special cell, additional inspector general Ajay Maluja, led the operation leading to the arrests at the Doomwali barrier on the Dabwali road. The police have gathered the market price of the contraband to be Rs. 1,200 a kilogram. The price was half two years ago.
"Commodity price rise did not affect the drug's value," said a police officer. "It was the demand and supply rule." Now the supply has shrunk. Inspector general of police (CI) Jatindra Jain declined to comment on the price issue. "Our campaign against the drug smugglers has interrupted the supply to a large extent," he said.
"We have worked hard to crack the smugglers' codes," said Jain. "We have sized vehicles with cavities to hide the drug. This time, they employed a new method: to cover it by newspapers."
A process is on to attach the entire property of the people arrested in the past one year. If their profit has increase, so has the risk.