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Alarm bells ring as Mohali turns into hunting ground for drug peddlers

With a large concentration of the student population eager to experiment, the district is fast becoming a hunting ground for drug peddlers; though police have started a crackdown and a helpline, the supply will stop only when the demand dries up.

punjab Updated: Jul 12, 2018 11:26 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Mohali
Drugs,Drug addiction in punjab,Punjab
Banned injections and heroin make for a deadly cocktail.(A Representative Image)

Once a pit stop for peddlers, the Mohali district is now in the grip of drugs. Figures speak volumes. The district police has already booked 98 persons under the NDPS Act, while the Special Task Force constituted to fight drug menace has registered 33 cases so far. In 2016, the number of such cases stood at a mere 57.

Not a week goes by without the arrest of a drug dealer. Just four days ago, cops arrested Ambala resident Daljit Singh with more than 700 banned injections from Kharar. On July 3, the STF nabbed two drug peddlers, who included the owner of a drug rehabilitation centre and a snatcher, with 120 grammes of heroin from Phase 7. Sahil, earlier booked for snatching, was caught while trying to sell drugs near a college. Later, he revealed the name of his accomplice, Honey. Owner of a rehab centre, he had himself fallen prey to drugs.

On May 31, Frank, 21, and Chinoye, 39, both from Nigeria, were arrested with 200 grammes of heroin each from Mohali. On May 28, Maryam Wano, a Nigerian living in Kishanpura, was arrested with 280 grams of heroin, a testimony to the growing demand for this drug here.

It’s all downhill
  • Rehab centre gets busy The 50-bed drug rehabilitation centre in Sector 66, which used to remain deserted when it was set up in 2016, is now a beehive of activity with over 65 patients visiting it every day. “We have treated over 1,658 patients in the last one year. We get patients between 12 and 70 years of age. They are usually addicted to bhaang, alcohol and injectible drugs,” said an official, adding that lately they have also started receiving women patients. “The patients tell us that drugs are easily available in Kharar, Dhanas, Dadumajra, Bapu Dham colony, Manimajra, and Mauli Jagran,” shared an official at the centre.
  • From smoking to drugs A 14-year-old teenager from Balongi has been consuming drugs since the age of seven. A school dropout, he took to smoking to “feel like a man” and then graduated to weed and heroin. Once hooked on drugs, he started stealing from his father or selling scrap.
  • A cop and addict Arshdeep Singh, a Punjab police constable posted at Sohana police station, was arrested on June 27, for snatching in Sector 22. Singh was a heroin addict since 2013 and was desperate for money to buy his daily dose. Commissioned into the police on compassionate grounds in 2011, he was often hauled up for missing work. Arshdeep claims he sourced his drugs from other addicts.

HEROIN AND INJECTIONS

Admitting to the problem, Harbir Singh Atwal, SP (Investigations) Mohali, said heroin is being brought here from Delhi. “It is a vicious circle, most of the drug addicts are also doubling as drug peddlers,” said the officer.

What compounds the problem is the easy availability of banned injections from suppliers in Ambala and Baddi. Buprenorphine, an opiod, and Pheniramine, which are banned for retail sale and used at rehabilitation centres, are among the most common drugs sold by peddlers at prices ranging from 250 to 300 per injection.

Tarlochan Singh, in charge of CIA Mohali, said these drugs are much in demand among youngsters due to their affordable prices. These injections, said SP Atwal, are sourced from Ambala, Baddi and even Ludhiana.

PHARMA FOOTPRINT

Underlining the involvement of pharma wholesalers in this business, a senior police officer said, “We have written to our counterparts in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh about the people we have identified but we are yet to see any action.”

The police allege that most of the heroin supply comes from Nigerian drug dealers, “We have so far arrested 18 Nigerian nationals for drug peddling. All of them claim to have bought heroin from Delhi,” said Rajinder Singh Sohal, superintendent of police, STF.

He rued that with both peddlers and addicts using WhatsApp to make deals, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach the main supplier.

The police claim they have mapped the district for drug abuse and the problem is more acute in areas such as TDI, Janata colony in Nayagoan, Baltana, Dhakoli and Kharar.

First Published: Jul 12, 2018 10:37 IST