Himachal Pradesh Police devises new strategy to track drug traffickers
With illicit drug trade on the rise, Himachal Pradesh Police has re-devised its strategy to catch smugglers and keep track of addicts.
The police have added Register-29 in all police stations to track addicts and offenders booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. “At present, there is no mechanism to maintain the exact data of offenders booked under the NDPS Act. The station house officer (SHO) of the police station concerned will have to maintain the register that will create a database for analyses and better prevention of drug trafficking,” says state police chief Sanjay Kundu.
Highest number of drug cases in Shimla
The rise in narcotic trade in the state can be gauged from the number of NDPS cases registered under different police stations. In 2016, 919 cases were registered under the Act, while the number has now risen to 1,078.
The highest number of 173 cases has been registered in Shimla followed by 164 in Kullu, 146 in Mandi and 121 in Kangra. Solan district that borders Haryana and includes the industrial township of Baddi and Barotiwala has registered 125 cases.
Drug trafficking is negligent in Lahaul and Spiti district, where only two cases have been registered.
The prevalence of drug addiction and trafficking is more among those aged between 26 and 35 years, who comprise 37% of the total number of cases registered under the NDPS Act.
Charas use higher than national average
According to a survey of the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, the prevalence of the use of charas and ganja is 1.2% in the country, while it’s higher than the national average at 3.2 % in Himachal Pradesh. Similarly, the use of opioids is 2.8% in Punjab, 2.5% in Haryana, 2% in Delhi and 1.7% in Himachal Pradesh against the national average of 0.7%.
Himachal Pradesh’s drug problem includes illicit cultivation of cannabis and opium and the production of chemical narcotic drugs. Kullu is infamous for illicit cannabis cultivation. The high-quality charas produced in the valley is sought after in international and domestic tourist destinations.
The increase in the use of chitta and other synthetic drugs has raised concerns for the government.
Recently, the Himachal Pradesh Police helped Punjab Police to unearth the illegal supply of Tramadol tablets manufactured in two factories in Sirmour district.
After inspection, police registered FIRs against the pharma companies suspected of diverting tablets, capsules listed in psychotropic substances through fake marketing companies. The state police have sought help from the CBI-Interpol branch to arrest traffickers hailing from west African countries supplying drugs in Himachal. In the past five years, 69 foreigners, including 34 Nigerians, have been arrested in the state under the NDPS Act.