Forget terror, now drugs pose the biggest threat to the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.
Official figures reveal that police have seized 64 kilograms of charas, 7.5 kilograms of charas powder, 194 kilograms of bhang and bhang dust, 925 kilograms of fukki, 915 kilograms of poppy straw and 3.75 kilograms of brown sugar in different parts of the valley in 2016. If it was not enough, police seized 26457 intoxicating capsules 10553 intoxicating tablets and 12983 bottles intoxicating syrup in 2016.
“Drugs is a bigger threat than terrorism.We are waging a war against it and we seek people’s cooperation in eradicating it from the state”, said Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir.
Around 312 persons were arrested in 2016 of whom 202 were prosecuted and 26 others were booked under Public Safety Act (PSA), under which a person can be jailed without trial and bail up to two years. Similarly in 2015 police had registered 375 cases and arrested 442 people and 13 others have been booked under PSA.
South Kashmir is emerging as a hub of the contraband drugs. In September alone more than 712 kilos of different contraband drugs have been seized in Pulwama district of South Kashmir. This includes 244 kilograms of cannabis powder, 43 Kilograms of cannabis leaves ( the raw material of charas) and a large quantity of poppy straw and other drug derivatives.
For the last two months, 60 drug peddlers were arrested and huge quantity of contraband substances including 486 Kilograms of Poppy Straw, 510 bottles of Codeine Phosphate, 1,29,600 tablets etc were recovered from their possession in neighboring Kulgam district of south Kashmir.
Figures released by Excise Department of Jammu and Kashmir have revealed shocking details about the drug cultivation in the trouble-torn valley. Poppy crop spread over 2863 kanals (20 kanals form one hectare) of land was destroyed this year so far. Last year poppy crop spread over 2873 kanals of land was destroyed by the Excise Department.
In summer this year Bhang spread over 1475 kanals of land has been destroyed in Kashmir valley. Last year the crop over 180 kanals of land was destroyed by the Excise Department.
Poppy crop is sown in November and December and harvested from April to mid June. “A paddy sown on one kanal of land fetches Rs 4000 to Rs 5000 for a farmer. While as sowing poppy on one kanal of land will fetch him Rs 70000 to Rs one lakh”, said an official of Excise department.