Is Mumbai the hotbed of sale and consumption of drugs? Going by the statistics with the Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC), the answer is yes. There has been tremendous rise in seizure and consumption of drugs in the city.
ANC data for the first six months, released on the occasion of World Narcotics Day (June 26), reveals that there has been manifold increase in the number of drug abuse cases this year as compared to the corresponding period last year.
Narcotic drugs worth Rs1.4 crore were seized this year, a 40% increase from (corresponding period) last year.
According to officials, the increase in cases, arrests and seizure is a result of the heavy crackdowns by ANC along with local police. This year, the number of cases of both possession and consumption of narcotic substances is 4,867; last year (corresponding period) it was just 604, an eight-fold increase.
The number of those arrested under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act went up from 2,009 (corresponding period) last year to 6,978 this year. The total value of the seizure is about Rs1.4 crore; last year it was about Rs 1 crore.
Kishore Jadhav, DCP of ANC, said: "Commissioner of police Rakesh Maria had instructed us to strengthen vigilance in coordination with the police. He wants to make the city drug-free. All the 93 police stations have been carrying out heavy crackdowns and patrolling. This has led to massive arrests and seizures. Ninety per cent of the cases are that of consumption and most of the consumers belong to the lower strata."
This year heroin worth Rs 54 lakh was seized. Although the number of Charas and Cocaine cases have remained nearly static, seizure of heroin, ganja and Ephedrine have doubled. New amphetamine-type substances were also seized in large quantities; this was negligent last year; 2,640 bottles of Rescox cough syrup worth Rs 3 lakh were also seized.
According to officials, the areas under radar have been colleges, schools, railway stations and even isolated areas such as mill compounds. More than 60% of those caught were from western suburbs—Bandra to Andheri—followed by central suburbs such as Chembur and Kurla.
"Officers have been deployed, even in plain clothes. Peddlers are moving out of Mumbai because of the crackdown. We are also hunting down Nigerian and Mozambique nationals smuggling and peddling drugs," said Jadhav.
Activities planned by ANC and local police on World Narcotics Day on June 26
- Narcotics awareness rallies
- Poster exhibition
- Awareness programmes and discussions in hospitals, schools, housing colonies and rehabilitation centres
- Street plays
- Film screening in Arthur Road jail for drug inmates