Migrant labour camps under scanner for drug trafficking

The police and local vigilance committees, including residents’ associations and youth clubs, have intensified surveillance of migrant workers’ camps in Kozhikode district in the wake of a spurt in drug trafficking and substance abuse cases involving migrants.

Over 30,000 migrant workers are temporarily staying in rented and other facilities in the district, and a few of them are reportedly involved in drug peddling to earn extra income.

Police sources said some migrant workers were suspected to be selling cheap alcoholic drinks in branded soft drink bottles to evade checking. Some make their own booze by mixing liquor with cannabis or other tranquillizers for quick business, they added.

In a recent seizure, the police identified such a toxic mix, which was prepared using liquor and ganja extract. Several migrant workers at Mankavu and nearby areas are customers of the hallucinogenic concoction, which is sold in huge quantities.

“The Government Railway Police [GRP] and the Railway Protection Force are always alert, as instances of smuggling of ganja and banned pan masala products have been found to be increasing with the resumption of train services following a lull in the pandemic situation. In many cases, migrant labourers are suspected to be behind the discreet shipping,” said a GRP official. According to him, inter-State agents are keen on doing the business, as they have a permanent customer base mostly comprising migrant workers in Kerala.

On the instructions of the police, residents’ forums have asked building owners to keep an eye on their tenants’ activities. In many cases, building owners are not so keen to check the premises, which helps peddlers safely hide their stuff.

Excise personnel too are conducting patrol to net suspected labourers. Poovattuparamba village near Mavoor has a full-fledged team of local volunteers to take on the menace on an experimental basis. Similar local groups are under the consideration of both the police and Excise in other vulnerable areas.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 4:51:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/migrant-labour-camps-under-scanner-for-drug-trafficking/article37201902.ece

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