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Consigned to flames: 106kg heroin, ganja worth ₹150cr

Rajasthan customs officials burn confiscated narcotics at a bio-waste treatment plant in Jaipur

jaipur Updated: Jan 20, 2017 21:03 IST
Deep Mukherjee
Deep Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
The Customs Department dispose of confiscated heroin by burning them inside a furnace. (HT PHOTO)

As two burly men bring in a heavy sack and put it over a weighing machine inside a damp and dark warehouse, some official looking men standing nearby take a look at the reading with furrowed eyebrows and business-like expression on their faces.

They quickly scribble some notes about the weight of the sack as its contents are emptied out on the ground. The items hit the floor with a thud making one assume that something made of wood was packed inside the white, nondescript-looking packets bearing the seal of Government of India.

The packets, however, have nothing to do with wood.

“It is from a consignment of heroin that was seized from Jaisalmer in 1985 from a Pakistani national who had smuggled it from across the border. After 30 years, the powder has become solid,” explains one of the official-looking men to the group of journalists looking curiously at the proceedings.

He and the other official looking men are from the customs department and they are completing the formalities before the seized contraband is destroyed.

Over the course of the next half hour, Commissioner of Rajasthan Customs department Simmi Jain oversees the disposal process, making sure that every legal formality is followed. An order is given and two labourers get the instructions to throw the consignment into a furnace.

Clutching the heavy gunny sacks in both hands, one of them shoots a glance towards the cameras and the journalists before pushing the contents into furnace, which, an official explains, has a temperature of 900-1,000 degree Celsius.

Sack by sack 106 kg of narcotic substances including heroin and ganja with a market values of ₹150 crore are thrown into the furnace of M/S Intromedix Ltd, a common bio waste-treatment facility in the Pink City. While the heroin was seized from Jaisalmer and Sriganganagar districts, the ganja was recovered from Bikaner.

“Today we have disposed of 67.709 kg heroin and 39.665 kg ganja after the court gave us permission to do so,” confirms Jain.

“There are three phases of disposing of the material. After the initial burning, we separate the carbon particles in a tank. Thereafter, we cool down the carbon particles by spraying water from four tanks. The water is ultimately carried to the effluent treatment plant,” says Himanshu Suri, project manager, Instromedix (India) Pvt. Ltd.

As the contraband burns, Suri adds that the emanating fumes don’t pose any risk to humans living adjacent to the facility near Agra road.

This, however, seems belied as in spite of everyone present wearing surgical masks, as insisted by the customs officials, a strong odour clouds the room. The smell ranges between anaesthetic and addictive at the same time.

First Published: Jan 20, 2017 21:03 IST