Seizure of narcotic drugs like opium, heroin and cannabis in the country has increased by more than 300 per cent in the last five years with 2017 witnessing an all-time high recovery of over 3.6 lakh kg of narcotics, according to the latest NCB report. A haul of 2,551 kgs opium (used to produce heroin), 2,146 kgs heroin, 3,52,379 kgs of cannabis (ganja or weed), 3,218 kgs of hashish (cannabis resin) and 69 kgs of cocaine (party drug smuggled into India mainly by west African traffickers) was seized by various anti-narcotics agencies in the country last year, the highest seizure of narcotics since 2013.
While the last year saw the total narcotic seizures at over 3.60 lakh kgs, it was 3.01 lakh kgs in 2016, over 1 lakh kgs in 2015, 1.1 lakh kgs in 2014 and about 1 lakh kgs in 2013, the NCB report accessed by PTI said. The year gone by also saw the maximum number of cases of interdiction of these illegal drugs in the last 5 years, generally abused by the young and few other categories. The latest report, brought out after compiling data from all states and agencies, was unveiled by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday.
The NCB is the national agency to coordinate drug law enforcement activities in the country by involving various state agencies, police and central departments and it functions under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Barring hashish and cocaine, all other narcotic drugs saw their maximum seizures, over the last 5 years, in 2017. NCB officials attributed the highest seizure of these drugs in the last year to an increased amount of awareness and enhanced capabilities of drug law enforcement agencies to interdict illegal cache.
“Not only in the last five years, the seizures in the years prior to that were no match to what has been recovered and seized in 2017,” a senior official said. Among the states last year, the maximum opium seizure was made from Punjab at 505.86 kgs followed by Rajasthan at 426.95 kgs, the maximum amount of heroin was seized in Gujarat at 1,017 kgs followed by Punjab at 406 kgs. Cannabis seizure was the highest in Andhra Pradesh at 78,767 kgs followed by Odisha at 55,875 kgs during 2017.
While Uttar Pradesh accounted for the maximum hashish (also known as charas) seizure at 702 kgs followed by Madhya Pradesh at 625 kgs, the national capital of Delhi had the highest seizure of cocaine at 30 kgs followed by Maharashtra at 21.83 kgs. The report also talked about trends for 2017 witnessed in smuggling and trafficking of these illegal drugs. Opium, it said, is trafficked from Manipur, Jharkhand, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to other parts of the country while major trafficking of heroin in India takes place through the India-Pakistan border in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and subsequently to other states.
“There is a trend of trafficking of charas from J-K to Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa and Gujarat. Charas is also trafficked from Nepal into India,” it said. Talking about cocaine trends, the report said its seizures have been made “mostly at the airports.” “There are many instances of small quantities of cocaine trafficking through parcels concealed in common household articles like cosmetics, utensils, books, food items and clothing,” the report said.
An all-time high destruction of illicit poppy cultivation was also done in 2017 as 7,602 acres of such crop was cleared by multiple agencies as compared to what was done anytime since 2013. Similarly, 8,515 acres of illicit cannabis cultivation was destroyed last year, the highest since year 2013.