Odisha notifies task force for drug trafficking
BHUBANESWAR: A fortnight after it named former state police chief Abhay as head of State Task Force against Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse, the Odisha government on Saturday formally constituted the task force mandated to formulate the state’s policy on narcotic drugs within the context of national policy.
While Abhay, who goes by one name, will chair the taskforce, a multi departmental co-ordination committee headed by chief secretary and co-chaired by him will formulate the state policy on drugs. The multi-departmental committee will comprise secretaries of home, health and family welfare, social security, excise, school and mass education, higher education, information technology and information and public relations departments.
The home department, which notified the government order, said the mandate of the task force will be to coordinate, suggest action in drug demand reduction, raise community awareness, increase community participation and public cooperation, focussed intervention in schools, colleges and among youth.
“In Odisha, it is imperative to give a serious push to efforts to contain drug abuse and drug trafficking, so that the emerging problem is nipped in the bud. This can be done by a combination of demand reduction, supply reduction, and harm reduction measures,” the resolution said.
Odisha has over last few years emerged as a major centre for drug trafficking with cannabis grown in erstwhile Maoist-affected areas being trafficked all over the country. As compared to the seizure of 198 quintals of cannabis in 2015, enforcement authorities seized a record 1600 quintals of cannabis in the state in 2021.
As per the Smuggling In India report for the year 2019-20 released by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Odisha has emerged as the source state of cannabis in India apart from Andhra Pradesh.
“There is a distinct trend emerging from these seizures which indicates a flow of huge quantities of Ganja coming from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, passing through Telangana, Chattisgarh and MP before reaching the consumption centres in northern states of India, mainly U.P. and Bihar. Ganja not only has narcotics angle but also a national security concern as the illicit proceeds from the trafficking of it are used for feeding the growth of extremist activities,” the report said.