In the biggest drug seizure drive in Mandi two days back, a scrap dealer – Kali Dass, 42, hailing from Balh, landed up in the police net for being active in the illegal drug trade for quite some time.
The seizures from him included 11.5 kg charas and Rs 2.05 lakh, besides jewellery worth Rs 16 lakh and an Innova – the vehicle for trafficking.
In Shimla, the drive against drugs has yielded arrests of 190 persons, 45 from out of the state in 150 cases of seizure of contraband, including 97 relating to “chitta” (heroine) in less than a month’s time.
Shimla’s Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Gandhi-known to have his grip on drug mafia in Kangra, says some of the arrested persons have never been questioned earlier and they were operating in a well-organised nexus for long years.
The scale with which Himachal Pradesh is fast becoming a new hub of illegal drug trafficking and abuse of synthetic drugs-Chitta, could be frightening if data of daily drug seizures by the police in districts like Kangra, Shimla, Kullu and Una are put together.
“In just three months after assuming charge, I have been taking all inputs from top police and state intelligence personnel. I can tell you, a well-thought-out action to wipe out drugs and smash dangerously active networks, will be happening within the next few weeks” Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu declared on Saturday in Shimla, day after he shifted to his official residence, ‘Oak-Over’.
Informed sources told India Narrative that the state government is planning to set-up a “Special Task Force” (STF) under the command of Additional Director General of Police (CID and Crime) Satwant Atwal to give the drug smugglers (of Chitta) a run in the state.
The STF will have its units in the districts with select policemen and officers of impeccable integrity from the organisation being taken on the job to sternly deal with smugglers of ‘chitta’ and other forms of drugs.
“The existing laws under which the cases are normally filed are weak. Notorious persons engaged in the narcotic trade and trafficking within the state or outside take advantage of loopholes and escape from the police net and go punished by the courts. We are going to enact a new law and proposed a higher punishment and penalities” says Sukhu.
The new law will be passed in the upcoming assembly session beginning on March 14.
A detailed announcement on the task force, its mandate and enactment of the law is expected to be made in the Budget speech of the Chief Minister.
On the enforcement side, the STF will take the services of the intelligence department, CID and engage highly skilled personnel from armed police battalions. The police have already laid their hands on some foreigner gangs supplying “chitta” in the state.
The crime cell in the district police have intercepted some messages and WhatsApp calls of the suppliers sitting in Delhi and key towns of Punjab and prepared dossiers against them.
Much shocking information has come to the fore in the recent police workshop against drug abuse which the police had organised at the headquarters.
It has come to the notice of the police that drug peddlers are trying to make educational institutions, coaching centres, hostels as their targets to rope in youths /teenagers and students, both for peddling and drug abuse.
The privately run rehabilitation centres have also been under the radar of the police as the drugs are also reaching freely to the addicts lodged at these centres. Drug smugglers are active around them.
“Not only this, the network of drug smugglers has spread to jails in Himachal Pradesh” a senior police officer revealed to India Narrative here.
Naresh Chauhan, Principal advisor (media) to the Chief Minister says the government is looking at measures from altogether new angles.
“We are going to have a massive crackdown against the drug mafia. Alternatively, a big state level drug rehabilitation centre in the government sector was also proposed to be set-up at Solan. The young addicts need to be treated as patients. They are part of our society and needs medical treatment, ” he says.
Chauhan outlines “If the present government fails to act now, the situation will go out of hands. The coming generations will go through a terrible crisis.”