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Trail of ruin in opium country

SANJAY?S PARENTS want their son to die. Reason: He is a drug addict and cannot live without narcotics. There are many such Sanjays in Barabanki where drug addiction has ruined many families. In fact, Barabanki tops the list when it comes to drug trafficking as the district has the basic infrastructure required for this trade to flourish.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 00:59 IST

SANJAY’S PARENTS want their son to die. Reason: He is a drug addict and cannot live without narcotics.

There are many such Sanjays in Barabanki where drug addiction has ruined many families. In fact, Barabanki tops the list when it comes to drug trafficking as the district has the basic infrastructure required for this trade to flourish. The raw material opium is grown in abundance here and there are illegal factories which refine it to morphine. Morphine fetches around one crore in the international market and smugglers cannot resist the lure of such big money.

Though government issues licences for opium and farmers have to deposit a certain amount of the crop with the government, it still reaches drug traffickers.
They, in turn, refine it and then morphine is transported illegally. Sources in the illegal trade say now consignments are routed to Nepal for sale in the international market. They recruit ‘carriers’ or local unemployed youth for a paltry sum. Moreover, the ‘Barabanki’ brand fetches a higher price. Though police lay hands on the carriers, they are free after a few months.

They are booked under the NDPS Act and the seized morphine is presented as evidence in court. For testing its quality, a sample is sent to Ghazipur. The report takes months to come and is often so diluted that the accused go scot-free due to lack of evidence.

Most of the big players are in jail, a place they find safe to control their operations from. Superintendent of police, Barabanki, S B Shiradkar, in his monthly meeting with SOs, issued a stern warning in this regard. Barauli Malik village under Zaidpur police station resembles a marketplace after dusk. Residents of Lucknow, including women in vehicles, can be seen heading towards it. The reason is simple. Here, one can get a dose of morphine for as little as Rs 20.

Zaidpur police station, which is in the opium belt, is considered a prized posting. Ramdev Verma, a local who heads Nehru Yuva Mandal working for eradication of this ill, says that,” It has brought a bad name to our village, we try to resist the traffickers, but in vain.” Every drug addict is a story in himself.

They were once well off, had families and social respect. But the “just try it once” attitude ruined their life.

To fund their addiction, they take to theft and petty crimes and even sell their blood. The police is also reluctant to keep them in the lock-up. As when the desire is overwhelming, they cut their own tongue, or suffer convulsions. Thus, they are dumped after a thrashing.

According to police sources, some of the persons said to be involved in this trade are now in political arena. There is little that can be done to tame them.

First Published: Jan 02, 2006 00:59 IST