Enforcement agencies must destroy all channels of drug trafficking: Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday asserted that seizing narcotics alone cannot make the country drug-free and enforcement agencies must aim at destroying all channels between traffickers and final consumers.
Addressing the regional meeting on 'Drug Trafficking and National Security' here, the home minister said under 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', a target to destroy 75,000 kg narcotics was set but under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, so far over 1.5 lakh kg narcotics has been destroyed, which is more than double the target set.
He said, the prime minister has a dream to make the country drug-free and for this, coordinated effort is necessary between central and state agencies.
The security of the nation can only be ensured if drug trafficking and all related channels are destroyed as insurgency, arms smuggling, and other anti-national activities are linked to trafficking, he said.
''Insurgency along with arms trade and drug trafficking are two sides of a coin,'' he said.
The home minister urged the law-enforcing, health, revenue, and social revenue departments to adopt a twin-pronged approach for ensuring that drug trafficking is stopped.
''We must be harsh with the traffickers while at the same time the victims must be dealt with sensitively,'' he said.
Shah said considerable efforts have been made to tackle the issue in the Northeastern states, where drugs enter from the neighbouring countries, but ''it is not enough''.
He urged the chief ministers, chief secretaries, and director generals of police of the Northeastern states to adopt strategies both ''from top to bottom and vice versa so that the results percolate to the lowest level and the problem of trafficking can be eradicated from the roots''.
Shah expressed concern over all the seven states in the region facing alarming levels of drug abuse which is more than the average in India.
He directed the state and central agencies to take effective steps on the country's borders with Myanmar and Bangladesh to curb cross-border trafficking of drugs.
''Drug trafficking is a borderless crime and better coordination between all Drug Law Enforcement and Intelligence agencies and bordering districts of the northeastern states is essential to tackle it,'' he said.
We have to go beyond catching the ''faces'' like drug abusers and distributors involved in any seizure and nab the masterminds who send drugs from outside the border to India, he added.
The Union home minister further said a drug syndicate was also functioning in the region with evidence of involvement of Nigerian nationals coming to light which must be curbed effectively.
Cases of drug trafficking should be investigated thoroughly from its source to destination to crackdown on its entire network, he added.
A total of 1,257 drug trafficking cases were registered between 2006-2013 which increased by 152 per cent to 3,172 between 2014-2022 while the total number of arrests during the same period increased by 260 per cent to 4,888 from 1,362, he said.
During 2006-2013, 1.52 lakh kg of drugs were seized which doubled to 3.30 lakh kg between 2014-2022 while drugs worth Rs 768 crore were seized during 2006-2013, which increased by 25 times to Rs 20,000 crore between 2014-2022, he said.
''The Ministry of Home Affairs has adopted a three-pronged formula of strengthening the institutional structure, empowerment and coordination of all narcotics agencies and a comprehensive awareness campaign to crack down on narcotics,'' Shah said.
The central government and its agencies have taken several initiatives to strengthen the existing mechanism to curb trafficking and these include restructuring Narcotics Coordination (NCORD) for effective coordination between the central and state agencies along with a development of NCORD Portal, an all-in-one portal for all types of drug-related information.
Development of National Integrated Database on Arrested Narco Offenders (NIDAAN) database by the NCB in collaboration with the ICJS, establishment of Nar-K9 pool as a national asset at NCB Imphal and a 24x7 dedicated and toll-free national narcotics helpline named MANAS is also being prepared, he said.
Standardised training modules on NDPS subjects and publication of a compendium of important NDPS court judgments have also been planned.
The Ministry of Home Affairs under the ''assistance to states/UTs scheme'' has allocated Rs 17,29,74,130 for strengthening the drug law enforcement mechanism of states of Northeastern region , he said.
Empowerment of border guarding forces -- BSF, Assam Rifles and Sashastra Seema Bal -- under the NDPS Act 1985 to carry out search, seizure and arrest has also been planned, he said.
Measures have been taken against illicit cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy and constitution of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Alternative Livelihood Arrangements for the farmers engaged in the cultivation of illegal crops has also been initiated, Shah said.
Sharing of satellite images for destruction of illicit cultivation, funds for upgradation of the existing capabilities of forensic laboratories in the region and an amount of Rs 90 lakh has been sanctioned to Mizoram for procurement of mobile forensic vans, he said.
Creation of Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) in states as a single nodal point for all narcotics related issues and restructuring and strengthening of NCB for increased presence have also been taken up, he said.
Apart from the NCB Guwahati zonal unit, three new zones at Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura have been approved while a new regional office will come up at Guwahati, he added.
Before the meeting, approximately 40,000 kg of drugs were destroyed in the Northeastern region under a special campaign against narcotics.
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