‘Aged beggars, leprosy-hit are lured to peddle ganja’

Women are also roped in to hoodwink police, says Chittoor DSP

Updated - August 19, 2022 08:19 am IST

Published - August 19, 2022 08:18 am IST - CHITTOOR

Rising ganja and liquor smuggling cases in the last two years have become a cause for concern for the Chittoor police, more so as close to a hundred booked for such activities since January this year turned out to be youth in the age group of 19-25 out of about 256 accused.

Chittoor district, flanked by Karnakata and Tamil Nadu, happens to be a vital transit route for ganja smuggling, the police maintain. All the ganja stocks seized in recent years had their origin from the agency areas of north Andhra districts. “Some regular agents based in Chittoor district are procuring the stocks from their contracts in the Godavari districts and Visakhapatnam. To hoodwink the enforcement agencies, transportation of ganja is done through trains, buses, and two-wheelers. Women are roped in to remove the element of suspicion among the police,” Deputy SP (Law and Order) N. Sudhakar Reddy tells The Hindu.

“As per our information, a kg of ganja will cost more than Rs.10,000. The peddlers’ prime targets are daily wagers, youth, and juveniles. To carry out the business, the agents select some aged beggars and those deserted by families due to leprosy. These two categories mostly stay at railway stations, bus stations, and temples. Each packet might cost around Rs. 40. As cigarette prices have gone up, many youth and poor people are turning to ganja. Arrest and prosecution of aged beggars and those suffering from leprosy are practically difficult. Hence, the agents can escape from the law,” adds the DSP.

The police have mounted surveillance on one particular village, Bandapalle, a few km away from Chittoor corporation limits. “Over the years, some people from this village have made ganja pedlling a cottage industry. Despite our warnings and filing of criminal cases, the menace continues here,” he says.

The youth involved in ganja smuggling are not fully aware of the legal consequences. Possession of more than 20 kg of ganja attracts life imprisonment and more than one kg will lead to non-bailable cases, he adds.

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