The first-ever official exercise to map the drug menace in India, on the orders of the Supreme Court, has revealed that of the 51.4 lakh kg of narcotics confiscated across the country over the last 10 years, only 16 lakh kg were destroyed.
The data reveals that Rajasthan alone recorded 23 per cent of the total haul with 11.81 lakh kg seized under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, followed by Punjab (9.2 lakh kg), Madhya Pradesh (8.04 lakh kg) and Tamil Nadu (6.57 lakh kg).
However, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were among the states that were not able to burn even five per cent of the drugs confiscated.
Other states such as Odisha, Bihar, Goa and Manipur have not destroyed any contraband seized over the last decade while Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat had also destroyed less than five per cent of drugs confiscated.
The statistics, which do not include sedative tablets, syrup, vials and injections, were filed in Supreme Court last week by senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha, who was appointed as the amicus curiae in a drug-related case in 2012 by a bench led by Justice T S Thakur.
In July 2012, the bench was hearing an appeal by the Central government against the acquittal of an accused in the case because the prosecution could not produce the opium seized from him or show that the contraband was destroyed by a judicial order.
Saying that states had been breaching the guidelines of the Union Finance Ministry for destruction of drugs, the court had underlined the possibility of pilferage of the contraband and its return to the market for re-circulation.
It had said: “There cannot be anything worse than the society suffering on account of the greed or negligence of those who are entrusted with the duty of protecting it against the menace that is capable of eating into its vitals. Studies show that a large section of the youth are already victims of drug abuse and are suffering its pernicious effects.”
Apart from ordering the collection of data of narcotics seized in the last 10 years, along with information regarding their storage and destruction, the apex court also made the chief secretaries of the states accountable for gathering statistics from police chiefs, and forwarding their reports to the high courts concerned.
The high courts of the states had to scrutinise such data, ask for necessary clarifications and submit final reports with the court, it said.
The total haul confiscated by state police forces, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and Customs and Central Excise departments includes over 19 lakh kg of ganja, around 29,000 kg of smack, over 22,000 kg of charas, 15,000 kg of opium and more than 20 lakh kg of other contraband, including poppy straw used to extract morphine, hashish, posta drug, doda, etc.
Section 52A of the NDPS Act states that confiscated drugs “shall, as soon as may be after their seizure, be disposed of by such officer and in such manner as that Government may from time to time, determine after following the procedure… specified”.