December 28, 2021 4:27:57 am
The Union government has asked states to coordinate with central agencies to form a dedicated anti-narcotics task force under police chiefs, set up narco-canine squads and employ drones for surveillance of drug cultivation among other measures to counter illicit drug trade in the country.
The directions were made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah as he chaired the third meeting of the Apex Level Committee of Narco Coordination Center (NCORD) in New Delhi on Monday.
“Modi government considers drug abuse as a major threat to the national security which can only be dealt with overall coordination,” Shah said during the meeting, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MHA).
Other key recommendations were introduction of container scanners at all water ports and formation of inter-ministerial committees on dual-use precursor chemicals and dual-use prescription drugs.
“Directions were given for the arrangement of Container Scanners and related equipment for scanning of incoming and outgoing containers at all ports, whether government or private,” the statement said.
In September, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence seized nearly 3,000 kg of heroin at Gujarat’s Mundra port in what is believed to be one of the largest seizures of narcotics in India.
According to the MHA statement, narcotics worth Rs 1,881 crore were seized between 2018 and 2021 — three times the value of drugs seized between 2011 and 2014 (Rs. 604 crore). Between 2018 and 2021, about 35 lakh kg of drugs was seized — over double that of the 16 lakh kg confiscated between 2011 and 2014, the ministry said.
Shah directed that all states should form Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) under state police chiefs (DGPs) — which will work as State NCORD secretariats. He also gave directions to form a central NCORD unit under NCB on a national level.
NCORD was given shape by the government to boost coordination among drug law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders, and provide a platform for discussions on drug-trafficking related issues.
“Terming it as a borderless crime, the Home Minister directed that there is a need for better coordination between all drug law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies, not only at the national level but also between the Center and the States,” MHA said.
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