Drug menace in Guwahati

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Drug menace in Guwahati

Rajeev Bhattacharyya | March 20, 2018 19:44 hrs


That Guwahati has emerged as a hub of narcotics doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Only the police swung late into action against the illicit business that had been burgeoning since the last many years in the city. Being the gateway to the northeast and with an increasing number of people settling from different nooks and corners of the region, it is only to be expected that the trajectory of criminal activities will not only register an upward trend but become more organized in Guwahati. 

 

Much before Guwahati, Imphal and Aizawl had fallen victims to narcotics due to their proximity with Myanmar which exports Heroin from the laboratories mainly located in the mountains of Shan state bordering China. The undesirable offshoot was the rise in the number of HIV cases resulting from intravenous users who share the same needle. But Guwahati is more precariously perched – it is also near to the mainland which ensures an uninterrupted supply of drugs from different destinations.

 

An investigative report in G Plus revealed the wide spectrum of drugs from methamphetamines to the ganja that are sold in Guwahati. Popular among a large section of the young crowd in the city are painkillers and cough syrups which are reportedly manufactured in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Some quantities of the consignment that reach the northeast are smuggled out to Bangladesh through Assam and Meghalaya.  Likewise, tablets with a high ephedrine content are exported to Myanmar for the manufacture of both Heroin and a methamphetamine variant called Yaba. Some years ago, an army officer was apprehended in Manipur after he was found carrying a colossal quantity of Actifed tablets destined for Myanmar. 

 

An investigative report in G Plus revealed the wide spectrum of drugs from methamphetamines to the ganja that are sold in Guwahati. Popular among a large section of the young crowd in the city are painkillers and cough syrups which are reportedly manufactured in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

 

The network will suffer a setback due to the police raids but new ones will emerge since there is a market that will not diminish immediately. The sources are far removed across different states and countries far beyond the reach of the police. So the idea for the law enforcement agencies should be to prepare a long and short term strategy to combat the hazard while taking into the account the ground reality, existing resources and data available on the subject. It is a battle that cannot be fought alone for an indefinite span. If the experience in Mizoram is anything to go by, civil society organisations can contribute vehemently to the war against drugs. This is a cause that none dare oppose and many will pitch in to assist the police in choking the arteries in the city. Conversely, it will also keep the police on their toes and make them more alert to the complaints about drug peddling.   

 

The proliferation of drugs across the northeast calls for an institutionalized mechanism for sharing of information among the states. There are two central agencies with their offices in Guwaahti – Narcotics Control Bureau and Central Bureau of Narcotics – that carries out operations across the region at regular intervals. Additionally, the North East Council (NEC) could also take the lead in erecting such a mechanism connecting all these departments. NEC has security of the northeast as one of its mandates that was scripted into the charter when it was founded in 1971. The problem with the bureaucracy in India, and the northeast in particular, is its inability to envisage and map out the possibilities for the future. Very few officials take the pain to walk the extra mile.  But the drug scenario could get worse in Guwahati and the adjoining regions given the emerging trends in the neighbouring countries. 

 

(Rajeev Bhattacharyya is the Consultant Editor of G Plus. He is a senior journalist and author of “Rendezvous with Rebels: Journey to meet India’s Most Wanted Men”) 
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