Vijayawada

Vijayawada colleges on ganja peddlers’ radar

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Alarm bells go off as smugglers from neighbouring States target students in A.P.

Procuring ganja in the city, especially for college students, has become an effortless task.

All they need to do is to open their smartphones and message their suppliers and their order will be delivered.

What’s the catch? It is a members-only racket where the buyers must be aware of a certain code language in which they will have to communicate with the sellers.

“They have some codes. College students who are addicted to ganja will send messages to the suppliers in code language and the smugglers will deliver ganja to the students. Many smugglers are targetting students in degree, PG and professional colleges and are running a brisk business,” a police officer said.

Vijayawada colleges on ganja peddlers’ radar

Vicious circle

Such close-knit operations have become the new rage in town, with youths getting increasingly addicted to ganja. In order to fuel their expensive addiction, the students descend into a downward spiral of crime by resorting to petty crimes like chain-snatching and theft.

In some cases, students have also been known to steal vehicles and sell them off in order to keep scoring ganja. In some colleges, students who have struck up contacts with middlemen have themselves become suppliers.

The situation is a cause of concern for police officers, who say that smugglers are relentlessly expanding their networks to cover educational institutions in the State.

“Ganja is freely available at fast food centres and petty vendors near our college,” said a college student in Tadepalli.

Over the last few years, police took into custody several students of various engineering, management and other professional colleges. Several schoolchildren were also found to be addicted to smoking, ganja and alcohol.

Changing methods

Gangs have now started using cars and bikes to smuggle ganja and are also using trains to evade the police, say investigators.

“Ganja worth crores of rupees have been seized over the years. Demand is high in metropolitan cities where there are many colleges,” a Government Railway Police official said.

Vijayawada Police Commissioner Ch. Dwaraka Tirumala Rao said that gangs from Araku, Visakhapatnam, Sileru, Andhra Odisha Border (AOB), Bhadrachalam, and Odisha are supplying the contraband to local suppliers, who in turn target student groups.

“The local suppliers are targeting students of various professional colleges in and around Vijayawada. We arrested nine persons and seized e-cigarettes, ganja and other material from their possession,” Mr. Tirumala Rao said.

“Smugglers lure students into the ganja trade at wine shops. The suppliers procure ganja at ₹1,000 to ₹1,500 per kg in the Agency area and sell it to youth at ₹300 for a small sachet. The suppliers earn up to ₹8,000 per kg,” an officer told The Hindu.

Vijayawada colleges on ganja peddlers’ radar

Cops’ appeal

Krishna Superintendent of Police M. Ravindranath Babu said instructions have been given to the police to step up vigil at all colleges. “We identified that students in some institutes in and around Vijayawada are in touch with the smugglers. We request the students not to spoil their lives by getting addicted to drugs,” the SP said.

“Police are visiting colleges and are creating awareness among the students on the drug menace, smoking and alcohol. We request the parents to keep a close watch on their children, friends’ groups and their contacts,” Mr. Ravindranath Babu said.

“Many victims are from corporate and private schools and colleges. Ban on gutkha and tobacco chewing products in A.P. and neighbouring States is making the students and youth to turn towards ganja,” the officer said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:34:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/colleges-on-peddlers-radar/article29543356.ece

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