Srinagar, Nov 13: Banned drugs continue to pour into the valley, with an increasing number of cases being registered by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
Official figures reveal that in 2016, 873 persons were arrested in the state in 607 cases under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
The number increased by over 40 per cent in 2017, as 1,327 persons have been booked under the Act in 874 cases.
Over the last three months, the NCB has seized 161 kg heroin valued at Rs 800 crore from Jammu alone.
The seized consignments have been found originally from Afghanistan and reached Jammu and Kashmir via Pakistan.
Last September, the NCB had seized 60 kg heroin during multiple raids in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, arresting four people, and seizing Rs 22 lakh in cash from one of them in Punjab. While 22.14 kg heroin was seized from a car near Jammu, another 38.07 kg was found in Handwara.
The NCB on Friday seized more than 50 kg heroin on the outskirts of Jammu city from apple boxes in a fruit-laden truck which was headed to Delhi from Kashmir.
The seizure, the third biggest narcotics haul across India this year, was made at Ban Toll Plaza along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Nagrota on Monday, sources said.
A resident of Kupwara district has been arrested, the source in NCB said, adding that they were informed about an apple-laden truck leaving Kashmir with the contraband. The bureau located the truck near Udhampur and followed it, they said, adding that NCB officials intercepted the vehicle at the toll plaza near Nagrota.
Fifty packets of heroin stuffed in three cartons, estimated to be worth Rs 250 crore in the international market, were found during unloading of the wooden apple boxes, sources said. The truck was unloaded in Delhi, the source said.
A police official said that various narcotic drugs particularly heroin has given way to intravenous drug usage, use of sedatives and painkillers.
‘This increases the intensity of addiction and hastens the process of complete subjugation to the narcotic dependence,” the official said.
He said, the state police were adopting a two-pronged strategy to tackle the issue. “On the supply-side, we are carrying out intensive raids. Huge seizure of charas and tobbaco products have been made in the recent months,” he said.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir S P Pani refused to comment over the increasing drug abuse in the state.
“I am not the right person to make a comment in this regard. You better talk to NCB,” he added.
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had earlier directed senior police officials to use the most draconian laws, including the Public Safety Act (PSA)–a law under which a person can be detained without trial for upto two years–against those involved in the cultivation and smuggling of drugs.