Over 4,000 kilograms of ‘ganja’ or marijuana and 6,700 kg of poppy straw have been among the large-scale seizures executed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Gujarat during the last four years since 2012. NCB officials say that instances of drug abuse is fast spreading in the state especially among school-going students who are as young as 16 years.
“Ganja, hashish and derivatives of poppy continue to among the biggest consignments seized from Gujarat,” says Hariom Gandhi, the zonal director of NCB.
Figures from the Ministry of Home Affairs show that the biggest seizures in Gujarat have been in form of poppy straw (all parts of poppy plant except the seeds). Over 6,700 kilograms of poppy straw have been seized in the state since 2012. The use of poppy straw is common in states like Punjab and Haryana where labourers and drivers use it to relieve fatigue and physical pain.
“Most of the derivatives of poppy illegally find its way into the state from the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan where licit cultivation of poppy is carried out,” says the NCB official.
The second biggest recovery during the four year period is that of ‘ganja’. The NCB has recovered over 4,000 kg of this narcotic substance between 2012-2015. Other substances like hashish (271 kg) and opium (12 kg) have also been seized in sizable quantities during this period.
“Ganja comes to Gujarat in trains from places like Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand, while hashish comes from the J&K,” Gandhi added.
What is more disturbing for the state is the recovery of illicit drugs like Amphetamine, ephedrine, morphine from the state. “There have been instances of misuse of anti-depressants, hallucination drugs and opium-containing syrups. The presence of consumers who are school going kids, as young as 16-years, is the most disturbing part,” says the official.
The NCB in Gujarat has arrested 279 persons for drug trafficking from Gujarat between 2012-15. “We have a very high conviction rate of 90 percent,” adds Gandhi.