Andhra Pradesh

Southern States to coordinate to tackle narcotics trafficking

Southern States such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka will work together with Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to tackle narcotics trafficking with special focus on ganja that is grown in huge quantity in the Agency areas of Visakhapatnam and Odisha.

This was decided at an inter-State coordination meeting on strategies to combat narcotics trafficking’ here on Monday. The meeting was chaired by DGP of A.P. Gautam Sawang and attended by senior officers from the other states and stakeholders such as police, DRI, NCB and SEB.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Mr. Sawang said that cultivation of ganja in the AOB (Andhra Odisha Border) region was not new but had been happening for decades. But the time had come to put in a concerted effort to eradicate it. For this there was a need for coordination between the States and various other departments, and A.P. had taken the lead.

“To begin with we have already started a crackdown by destroying the crops and the last time we did it was in 2017,” he said.

The DGP also said that technology would play a major role in combating the menace. “We will use drones, tools embedded with artificial intelligence and there will be a lot of data collation, data sharing and data analytics,” he said.

According to Mr. Sawang, so far about 5,000 accused had been arrested at various places in the State for ganja smuggling and about 50% of the arrested were from other States.

Speaking about the challenges, he said that most of the ganja is cultivated in the AOB region which had presence of the banned CPI (Maoist). “The Maoists have been patronising the cultivation, as they have a cut in the smuggling and it is a source of income for them. We have to brave the threat to beat them on their turf,” he said.

He also pointed out that the ‘New Andhra’ model of tackling the left wing extremism would pay dividends in the coming days.

“There is a sea change among the tribals in the Agency areas and they have started to distance from the Maoists. The government schemes are reaching them and ROFR has been a game changer. The recruitment in the Maoist fold has almost dried and the LWE are importing cadres from Chhattisgarh to keep the movement alive. And this is going to be our main driving point,” he said.

Mr. Sawang also pointed out that the district administration had been roped in and efforts were on with other departments such as Forests to provide an alternative model of cropping for better sustenance of tribals.

The ganja trade had grown in dimension over the years and now there were cultivators, financiers, seed and technology providers and transport providers and everything worked through a chain. Efforts were on to identify them, including the routes and different modus operandi, to break the network and reach the kingpins, he said.

‘No heroin link’

Answering a question on the recent unearthing of 3000 kg of heroin at Mundra port, he said that A.P. had no involvement and this was clarified by the investigating agencies. The heroin had come to Mundra from Afghanistan via Iran, he said.

“If someone is trying to link A.P., it is with a malafide intention to tarnish the image of the State,” he said.


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Printable version | Aug 14, 2022 9:48:40 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/southern-states-to-coordinate-to-tackle-narcotics-trafficking/article37293495.ece