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Police have failed to track drug suppliers, admits CM

Panaji: The government on Tuesday admitted in the state legislative assembly that the police department has failed to identify and nab the main supplier of drugs to Goa, further assuring that if anyone in the police department is having a nexus with the drug trade in the state, due action would be taken against such a person.

Replying to a question related to the drug cases in Goa during the Question Hour, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who also holds the Home portfolio, admitted that there has been a rise in the number of drug cases in Goa during past few years.

“In 2017, 168 cases of drugs were registered by the police, while in 2018, 222 such cases were registered,” he added, pointing out that this year, till June 30, altogether 114 drug-related cases have been registered.

“As per the directives received from the Ministry of Home Affairs, an Anti Narcotic Task Force Committee has been formed under the chairmanship of DIG Anti-Narcotics Cell,” the Chief Minister said, assuring the House that the drugs confiscated by the police during past two years, which are presently in the custody of the police department, would be disposed of in the incinerator of the Goa Medical College within next six months.

Sawant also stated that ganja and charas are the two main drugs, which are mainly circulated in Goa. “We are probing as to who is the main supplier of drugs to Goa, and further investigation into the same is on,” he noted, informing that a single case of growing of ganja in Goa has been registered, while police have also taken cognisance of information that similar cultivation is taking place in the border area of the state.

Leader of the Opposition Digambar Kamat, who raised the issue, said it is a serious matter that out of all the people found involved in the drug trade, 80 are foreign nationals, while 400 are Goans/ Indians. He advised the government to find the root cause of drug supply. 

Panaji MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate was critical of his own government when he spoke about the recent drug haul at Campal Parade Ground in the city. He alleged that the police were “hand in glove” with the drugs peddlers, due to which drugs were available in the capital city.

Monserrate further questioned Sawant over the inefficiency of the police department stating that such a trade cannot exist without knowledge of the police. He also said that during the raid, two ladies tried to self-immolate themselves in front of police, but no case was registered against them for trying to commit suicide.

The city legislator also said that the vagabonds, who were living at Campal, were found to possess PAN Card and Aadhaar Card and were also planning to buy a flat costing Rs 40 lakh.

The Chief Minister said that he will ask police to investigate the case by re-arresting those, who were arrested in the Campal drug raid and later released.

The coastal belt and areas with heavy tourist footfalls in the state are the places where most of the drugs cases are registered hinting easy availability of drugs.

In a written reply to a question tabled by Nuvem MLA Wilfred D’sa regarding details of areas having records of drugs easily available, the Chief Minister said that the records of cases booked under NDPS Act reveal that most of the cases are registered in the coastal belt and areas with heavy tourist footfalls in the state.

Sawant said that awareness is created by the police department in schools and colleges regarding usage of drugs and its consequences. He also said that night patrolling is being conducted by the police department to check drugs and prostitution trade in the state.

Patrolling and surveillance is maintained at transit points of the state like airport, railway stations, bus stands etc. Special emphasis is given to the places frequently visited by tourists, informed Sawant.

He said that intelligence is being collected and informants have been cultivated to pass on information about persons indulging in drugs and prostitution activities. Staff of anti narcotic cell is also posted during night hours at static points such as railway stations, border check-posts and the coastal belt on random basis to check for narcotic drug activities, informed Sawant in the written reply.

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