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How to Combat Drug Trafficking in Goa

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar’s candid report to the Assembly that the number of drug peddlers in the state is rising has only confirmed the fears growing in the larger society that drug trafficking is going on unchecked. There was a time when everyone dismissed drug as a problem restricted to a small number of foreign tourists. Then it was discovered that local people living in the beach belt were involved in delivering drugs to foreigners. We did not take action to eliminate the problem then. In the next few years it spread to the hinterland. And now, our young persons are getting addicted to it. Instances after instances of Goans in the teenage and adolescent age groups found with drugs are increasing. There has to be a strong government and social campaign to contain the problem, else the number of younger Goans tempted to drugs would only go on rising, and then the problem would get out of control.
Parsekar was candid even about drugs being available in the vicinity of educational institutions in small kiosks or with taxi and rickshaw drivers. Not long ago, two students were caught with drugs on the campus of a professional college in the state, and the police had hinted that drugs were available in kiosks around the college. The Chief Minister said regular day and night patrolling was being done in the beach areas, markets and other crowded places and vigilance was being kept on kiosks, shops and hotels. If there is 24-hour vigilance how come the scale of drug addiction and the number of drug peddlers is rising? The rise in drug peddling is proof that anti-narcotic intelligence has not been up to the mark. The state government has now formed an anti-narcotic taskforce comprising members of various law enforcement agencies for better cooperation and coordination with exchange of intelligence information. If pooling of intelligence is done sincerely, the police can get an effective grip on the problem.
A special focus of the Anti Narcotics Police has to be on the kiosk owners. The business and activities of the kiosk owners in the vicinity of colleges and schools should be closely watched. Managements of colleges and schools should be taken into confidence by ANC in order to receive information and help from them in identifying kiosk owners who are selling drugs to students. Policemen in disguise should approach the suspected drug retailers among kiosk owners for drugs and catch them red handed. While the police take action against him in accordance with laws, the local municipality or panchayat must suspend the kiosk licence. If the authorities succeed in arresting a few of the kiosk owners and closing down their kiosks, it would result in deterrence to others who might be doing it.
For gathering vital information on kiosks doing drug business in the vicinity of schools, the Goa police could use its “Little Police” volunteers. Students can be the best source to know which students are taking drugs. Students who are tempted to drugs are usually driven to it by their peers, and the classmates know which peers are addicted to it and which ones are going along with them, first for fun, then for habit. The behaviour of drug abusers cannot be hidden from their classmates. Once drug abusers are identified, the retailers can easily be tracked down and prosecuted under law.
The other thing Parsekar must do in the shortest possible time is to fulfill his assurance of setting up a detention centre for foreigners facing trial in cases in the state. It has been known that a large number of foreigners involved in drug trafficking get arrested on some ground and get themselves released on bail. As their passports are not given to them until the verdict in the cases is not given they go and park themselves in a hole of their choice and carry on with the drug business. The police have no means of knowing their whereabouts or their activity. If there is a detention centre with high security, they can be held there until the pronouncement of judgement in the case and released and deported if they are acquitted or put in a jail if they are sentenced to imprisonment.
Of course, the Goa police simultaneously with all these measures must also maintain vigilance on the activities of their own men who have been entrusted with the duty on behalf of the people to catch drug traffickers and abusers. There should be multi-tiered policing to have policemen watch policemen in order to pin down those in collusion with drug traffickers.

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