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Narco-tourism in Himachal’s Kasol: Take action, HC tells state govt

Court observes that there is an organised cultivation of cannabis in Kullu, says NCB not equipped to handle the drug menace.

punjab Updated: Dec 05, 2017 14:52 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Kasol,Narco turism India,Cannabis Kasol

The Himachal Pradesh high court , in an effort to deal with the drug menace in the state, has directed the chief secretary to file his personal affidavit regarding the unauthorised construction and running of hotels or commercial establishments without statutory sanctions, more specifically at Kullu’s Kasol, infamous for narco-tourism. It also observed that the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is not sufficiently equipped to handle the drug menace.

The court also directed the director general of police (DGP) to file the action taken report in the matter. Acting chief justice Sanjay Karol and justice Sandeep Sharma passed these orders on a petition taken up suo moto by the court as public interest litigation (PIL) on affidavits filed by the zonal director, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Chandigarh, in a separate criminal appeal.

The court observed that as per reports, there is an organised cultivation of cannabis in the higher reaches in Kullu district, in the sub-division of Kullu, Sainj Valley, and there is wild growth of cannabis in Chamba, Kangra, Upper Shimla and areas adjoining Uttarakhand, but situation in Kullu-Manali Valley is alarming and despite the sanction of considerable funds for destruction of illicit cannabis, the situation is very distressing.

In its earlier order, the court had directed the Kullu superintendent of police (SP) as well as the NCB zonal director on October 25 to constitute a joint task force to raid all restaurants, hotels and dhabas in and around Kasol and Malana to stop illegal activities related to drugs. The joint task force was also directed to visit Malana village and ensure complete eradication of contraband and take action against people indulging in illegal trade of contrabands.

Kasol is a village in district Kullu situated on the banks of the Parvati river, on the way from Bhuntar to Manikaran. It is favourite spot for Israeli tourists.

Court observations

The Court observed that the NCB is not sufficiently equipped to handle the drug menace.

“The destruction campaigns are merely on paper and nothing has been done on the ground by the NCB or state police for curbing the drug menace in the state,” the court observed.

The situation in the entire state is quite alarming but at present Malana village appears to be the epicentre of drug menace and immediate steps are required to be taken by agencies concerned.

The Court wondered as to how rave parties are being allowed to be organised at Kasol village and whether foreign nationals residing in and around Malana possess valid permissions from the Centre.

HP Police plans anti-drug strategy

Himachal Police has gone into a huddle to chalk out a strategy to increase the drug seizure in the state. Even as the number of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) cases in 2016 increased significantly, the changing modus operandi is a challenge before cops.

A panel has been formed that would advise the state government in framing a policy to contain the drug-related crime. Director general of police (DGP) Somesh Goyal held a meeting in police headquarters to enhance the internal coordination between police, crime investigation department and narcotics wing since the lack of it has been seen to aid criminals in many cases.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 14:33 IST