New Delhi: With the Commonwealth Games
approaching, the country`s anti-narcotics agencies expect
large amounts of narcotics and recreational drugs to pour into
Delhi in time for the sporting extravaganza.
Official sources said field units across the country are
keeping a hawk eye on known drug cartels for signs of unusual
activity especially along the traditional smuggling routes
across the India-Pakistan border.
The presence of thousands of athletes and lakhs of
additional tourists and spectators in the capital during and
after the Games is expected to create a huge demand for
recreational drugs and hard drugs. This incentive is expected
to spur drug traffickers into hectic activity.
India has traditionally been a transit point for
Pakistan-originating narcotics for onward shipment to
countries in Europe and Southeast Asia, but the crowds
expected for the Games will provide a ready market for local
sale of drugs.
"We are keeping a close watch. Our intelligence officers
have been asked to look out for tell-tale signs of increase in
narcotics activity," a source said. "As the Games draw closer
our surveillance will increase."
He said various agencies like Narcotics Control Bureau,
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Border Security Force and
Customs will work together to check narcotics related activity
during the games period.
Apart from heroin, the bulk of the demand is expected to
be for party drugs like ecstasy and `Malana cream`, a superior
variety of marijuana grown in an illicit manner at Malana in
Himachal Pradesh`s Kulu valley.
The sources said though there was no specific input about
bumper cops of marijuana being sown just for the Commonwealth
Games, "but Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are always
on our radar. We are keeping a close vigil on the illicit
Enforcement apart, the agencies are also planning an
awareness campaign "to sensitise people about the harmful
effects of narcotics, new age drugs and amphetamine-based
stimulants that have hit the market," a source said.
Even at normal times India is known to be a huge importer
and consumer of illicit drugs. If the World Drug Report
released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is to
be believed, "India is the highest consumer of heroin in South
Asia and also appears to be producing its own opium poppy,
which is the raw material for heroine."
India consumed 17 metric tonnes of heroine in 2008 and
current opium consumption is estimated at 65-70 mt per year.
According to the UN report, cannabis remains the most
widely produced and consumed illicit substance globally, but
synthetic drugs like amphetamine-type stimulants are now the
second most commonly used drug, ahead of cocaine and opiates.