Millennium Post

5 northern states suggest NIA-type agency to deal with drugs

In Himachal, 1622 cases relating to drug smuggling were registered till June this year

Shimla: Faced with the problem of largescale drug trafficking, primarily resulting in its massive abuse among youths, in the age group of 16 to 30, five northern states gave nod to a joint strategy to curb smuggling, sale and consumption of drugs within their territories.

This was a second meeting held within 11 months in Chandigarh at the initiative of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his Punjab counterpart Capt Amarinder Singh.

"The issue is very ticklish. It involves a very aggressive and sustained effort to crack drug mafia. Unless all the states come together the problem will continue hit all the states.

Thus, the meeting of states holds quite a significance," Thakur told the Millennium Post.

Chief Secretary B K Aggarwal, who was also present in the meeting said it was informed in the meeting by officials of the Narcotics Control Bureau that smuggling of drugs from across the border has been brought down effectively.

Now, the mafia, across the borders, has devised new ways to send consignments.

They are sending consignments concealed in the

tradeable goods. This is a new challenge.

In the meeting, a proposal was also mooted to ask the Centre to set-up a specialised agency on the lines of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to crack drug mafia and reach to their kingpins, who runs high profile rackets and devise newer ways to send heavy consignments.

Chief Ministers of Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, besides senior officers of the Jammu-Kashmir, UT Chandigarh and Delhi governments attended the meeting.

"Drug abuse is posing a major threat to society. As Himachal Pradesh shares its boundaries with these it is essential that a joint action plan is effectively implemented for dealing with drug smuggling at inter-state level," said Jai Ram Thakur.

In Himachal, 1622 cases relating to drug smuggling were registered till June this year and 789 people were arrested. These included 27 women and two foreign nationals. Amongst the arrested people, 40 per cent are from Punjab and 25 per cent from Haryana state, which indicates that most

of the people involved in the illicit drug business are from other states.

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh informed that Punjab, which had faced a big challenge to fight against the drugs has been able to get some positive results.

Chief Minister of Uttarakhand TS Rawat, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar also attended the meeting.

Himachal Pradesh, during the past few years, has become a new market for the drug mafia to make deep inroads. Mostly targets are school and college students. A study shows 55 -60 per cent of youths are addicted to drugs in

Shimla, and also other rural towns.

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