Agencies apprehend possible increase in drug trafficking: CWG
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Last Updated: Monday, July 05, 2010, 19:17
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 cultivation."

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.


First Published: Monday, July 05, 2010, 19:17

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