Police turn up the heat on inter-State ganja smugglers

The Ernakulam rural police have strengthened the intelligence network against potential smuggling in of ganja aboard contract carriages being operated from other States for transporting migrant workers here.

Such a carriage with 40 workers from Assam was intercepted at Perumbavur with half-a-kilogram ganja and 10 gms of brown sugar based on specific intelligence input on Tuesday.

“We are closely monitoring all movement of goods and people from across the border, especially to Perumbavur. Ganja is mostly smuggled in from the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border areas,” said K. Karthik, District Police Chief (Ernakulam Rural).

With unreserved train journeys yet to be restored to the pre-Covid times, migrant workers continue to depend on contract carriages.

While the majority of the migrant workers may be genuinely in the lookout for livelihood, police are not ruling out the possibility of some anti-social elements among them trying to make quick bucks by smuggling ganja. “We also try to elicit intelligence inputs from among the migrant community to check such activities. We are also keeping a close watch on contract carriage operators and employees. They have been asked to desist from such shady activities or face stringent action, including suspension of the permit,” said Mr. Karthik.

Rijas A.J, district president of Contract Carriage Operators Association, said that ganja is being initially smuggled in from the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha belt to the other unsuspecting States from where it is being smuggled in smaller lots on contract carriages transporting migrant workers. He shared an instance in which an operator came to know about ganja being smuggled in his bus from Odisha to Kolkata and alerted the Kolkata police a month back.

“That was when we became aware of the threat of such a modus operandi. We have issued strict directions to our employees to check the baggage of the migrant workers and to deny entry to suspicious persons. But there is the practical difficulty of checking every single baggage of nearly 50 passengers,” said Mr. Rijas.

Benoy Peter, executive director of Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development, said that the thriving inter-State migrant worker transportation by contract carriages could be susceptible to ganja smuggling. “Migrant workers could either smuggle it in for self-consumption or for trading. The possibility of drug rackets engaging migrant workers as peddlers who travel between States frequently solely for that purpose cannot be ruled out either. Transporters could also smuggle it in with the migrant workers travelling aboard contract carriages having no clue about it,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 8:53:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ernakulam-rural-police-up-the-heat-on-inter-state-ganja-smuggling-using-contract-carriages/article37184694.ece

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