Narcotic Cell of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has adopted a zero- tolerance policy to make West Bengal free from the menace of narcotic drugs. Narcotic Cell with its ambitious efforts has been utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to wipe out poppy cultivation from the respective districts of the state.
Narcotic Cell has decided to go all out against the trade of narcotic drugs by means of trafficking, peddling and obviously consuming. The sleuths of this cell frequently raid at hideouts of the criminals who deal with narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Besides seizure of such drugs and substances, booked hooligans are strongly dealt with punitive action under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act to save the people from the evil effect of the illicit drugs. The cell is keen to do away with illegal cultivation of poppy seeds in some districts in the State including Malda, Bankura and Birbhum. The cell is utilizing the latest surveillance technology through UAV for monitoring illegal poppy cultivation as well as adopts multiple strategies to get rid of this menace. It creates awareness among the villagers of the vulnerable districts who have a tendency to sow poppy plants for making fast money. The officers and men of Narcotic Cell in co-ordination with Panchayat members hold meetings with the villagers to explain them how such illegal cultivation affect the younger generation and society as a whole and destroy the economy of the country.
On an experimental basis and for the first time in the state, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) were deployed in the sowing season from November to December for surveying the affected areas in districts such as Malda, Birbhum, Burdwan, Cooch Behar.
The exercise generated massive public awareness about the issue and projected the seriousness of the efforts of the state Government to have zero tolerance to illicit poppy cultivation. The UAVs also helped in detecting a few instances of such cultivation which was promptly destroyed. More such surveys are in the offing for keeping a close eye on any instance of illicit poppy cultivation and taking immediate action against it.
The cell had conducted raids in several railway stations including Sealdah, Burdwan, Dankuni, Jalpaiguri besides some hideouts and recently arrested 13 people and recovered 2270 gms of heroine, 1870 kg of poppy straw, 22.5 kg of cannabis buds and 137,000 bottles of cough syrup containing codeine phosphate.
The Narcotic Cell, CID, West Bengal, was established in 1993 and is fighting against the racketeers/dealers/peddlers of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances keeping liaison with several central agencies like Narcotic Control Bureau, Directorate of Central Excise, Customs Department, and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. It maintains a large network of engaged sources and collect intelligence from them about the criminals who are dealing, selling and illegally trafficking Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic substances.
As a nodal agency of “Narcotic” in West Bengal, Narcotic Cell also conducts several awareness programs/seminars and imparts training over the procedures regarding research, seizure and arrest and disposal of seized articles in respect of cases under the Act. It also conducts various awareness programmes against illicit cultivation of poppy in the affected districts in the state including Malda, Birbhum and Bankura with the help of District Police and Civil administrations using the latest UAV surveillance technology trying to make a drug free society for the future generation.
Murshidabad, Nadia, South 24 Parganas, bordering districts of North Bengal, Nepal and Bhutan are also affected with the manufacturing, selling, peddling and consuming of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The dealers are adopting various methods trying to fool the law enforcing agencies. They frequently change their conveyance and carriers on the way after a considerable distance. The women carriers wear trousers with several pockets as inner wears covered by their sarees and smoothly carry the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. The carriers also don’t carry mobile phones. If they do, those are switched off in order to conceal their location from being tracked electronically.
Currently the narcotic crime scenario of West Bengal is quite under control compared to other states, but more steps are being taken against the kingpins of this illegal trade which can be possible by rendering joint efforts through exchange/sharing information among the units/districts/ states to finish the evils from their root.
In its attempt to make the state a zero narcotic and poppy cultivation State, the cell has started collection of data about the actual person involved, the main financiers and supporters of illicit poppy cultivation, understanding the economics behind poppy cultivation. Armed with the correct data, a strategy was evolved and some of the main kingpins in the business were arrested.
According to Syed Waker Raja, Special Superintendent of Police, recent success of Narcotic Cell includes seizure of huge quantity of codine based cough syrup, heroine and other narcotic substances. This apart, Narcotic Cell is keeping eye on illicit poppy cultivation and for this purpose aerial survey has been carried out in affected areas in the state by using UAVs. This has created impact among the villagers/ locals about the government’s resolution to get rid of the menace of illegal poppy cultivation. Illegal poppy cultivation has not been evident so far following aerial survey carried out this year. Narcotic Cell has also played a key role in implementation of Supreme Court’s directive regarding disposal of seized Narcotic substances.
By Our Special Correspondent