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Why Punjab Is India’s Narcotic Haven

The state is besieged with a extreme drug drawback and accounted for nearly half of all circumstances registered in India underneath the narcotics Act.
Posted By IndiaSpend | Jan 7, 2015 21 Feedback Governance
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio speech final month, envisaged the creation of a drug-free India. That may be a difficult proposition that requires overcoming a number of obstacles, particularly the state the place narcotic abuse is essentially the most critical: Punjab.

Known as the granary of India for its agricultural prosperity, Punjab is now besieged by a extreme drug drawback, which is now roiling its society, financial system and politics.

Punjab accounted for nearly half of all circumstances registered in India beneath the Narcotic Medication and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) in 2013, up from simply 15% in 2009.

Punjab additionally accounted for a 3rd of all undertrials and convictions beneath NDPS in 2013.

Numerous research, together with this one by Professor Ranvinder Singh Sandhu of Guru Nanak Dev College (who IndiaSpend had spoken to earlier), have recognized quite a few standard narcotics.

These embody artificial medicine like heroin/smack/brown sugar, amphetamines/ice, uncooked opium-based mostly narcotics similar to ‘bhukki’ (poppy husk), ‘doda’ (powdered poppy husk) and ‘afeem’ (a black tar-like opium by-product) in addition to all kinds of prescribed drugs akin to alprazolam, diazepam (generally often known as xanax and valium, respectively), pethidine, buprenorphine, fortwin and many others.

Based on Professor Sandhu, the only greatest motive behind the drug downside in Punjab is the straightforward availability of narcotics within the state.

The rising recognition of brown sugar/smack/heroin might be attributed to Punjab’s shut proximity to the Golden Crescent area protecting Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. These three international locations are, collectively, the world’s largest producers of opium.

Punjab shares a 553 km border with Pakistan, which is used as an entry level to smuggle narcotics into India. Based on information tabled within the Rajya Sabha, in 2013, a complete of 390 kg of smack/heroin was seized in numerous states alongside the Indo-Pak border by the Border Safety Drive (BSF). Nearly eighty four% of those seizures have been made within the districts of Punjab bordering Pakistan.

Moreover, Punjab accounted for half of all seizures in India, in response to a 2013 Narcotics Management Bureau (NCB) report.

A research by Sakshi Sawhney, a former analysis affiliate with the Delhi Coverage group, additionally discovered that Punjab acts as a significant transit hub for heroin in India. Sawhney additional states that ‘Bhukki’, probably the most generally-consumed medication in Punjab, is sourced from the opium fields in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Whereas many of the opium manufacturing in these states is authorized and supervised by Central Bureau of Narcotics, illicit, pure and adulterated opium nonetheless continues to be trafficked into bordering Punjab.

In line with NCB knowledge, in 2013, forty one% (of 964 kg) of all opium seizures in India befell in Punjab, an indication of the drug’s reputation within the state. A lot of medicine are subsequently bought to customers by an in depth community of sellers.

In addition to sellers, one of many largest sources of medication in Punjab is native chemists, who promote over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.

Professor Sandhu’s research discovered that forty five.eighty three% addicts bought these medicine from chemist retailers making them the first suppliers. Rising demand and profitability within the drug commerce has led to a slew of chemist outlets cropping up throughout Punjab.

A substantial variety of these outlets, particularly in rural areas, are unlicensed and promote medication to customers with out prescriptions.

One other matter of concern is the involvement of excessive-profile authorities officers within the drug commerce, together with allegedly Punjab’s income minister and member of ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Bikram Singh Majithia and state chief parliamentary secretary Avinash Chander in what’s being described as a Rs 6,000 crore drug racket. This will point out political patronage of the drug trade.

Youth unemployment, too, is a vital motive for the expansion in drug trafficking and use in Punjab.

In response to information launched by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2013, thirteen.5% of these within the age group 15-29 are unemployed, the third-highest fee in north-Indian states. Whereas that is solely barely greater than the thirteen.three% nationwide common, simple availability of narcotics in Punjab make the unemployed extra inclined to drug use and dependancy.

The severity of Punjab’s drawback has even was a chilly struggle of kinds between the SAD and Bharatiya Janata Social gathering (BJP), the coalition companions of Punjab’s authorities.

The SAD held dharnas (peaceable agitations) on January 5, 2015 in areas bordering Pakistan to construct stress on the central authorities-managed BSF to curb trafficked medicine. This additionally comes simply forward of the proposed go to of senior BJP president Amit Shah to the state on January 14, 2015 to launch the occasion’s anti-drug marketing campaign.