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Poppy straw worth Rs 77 lakh seized

Excelsior Correspondent
KATHUA, Feb 4: Tightening its noose on drug smugglers especially in view of the Assembly elections in bordering State of Punjab, Kathua Police has sealed all entry points with Punjab and intensified its drive against the drug menace.
It was the result of this intensified drive that Kathua Police today succeeded in foiling a smuggling bid of opium (poppy straw) powder from Kashmir to Punjab after recovering 11 quintals of opium straw powder from a truck which was on its way from Kashmir to Punjab.
The opium straw was concealed in 44 bags with 25 kgs of each costing Rs 77 lakh in market.
Sources said the consignment was to be taken to Punjab and there is every apprehension that the drug may be used during the elections.
SSP Kathua, Pawan Parihar while talking to reporters said that during a naka laid down by Hatli More Police at National Highway bordering Punjab and intercepted a truck with registration number PB 13AR8213. After checking, 44 bags of opium were recovered from it which were seized by police, he added.
Three persons have been arrested in this connection including driver of the truck Shabir Ahmed his associates Abdul Rehman and Sanjay Kumar. While, Shabir and Rehman are the residents of Rajouri, Sanjay is the resident of Kathua. Police has registered a FIR Number 37/2017 under Section 8/15 NDPS Act against them and started investigation.
Parihar said that police has now tightened its noose on drug smugglers from J&K to Punjab and from Punjab to this side. He said the drug menace in the district has been contained to a great extent now as police is maintaining the constant vigil on it.
Additional SP Kathua, Khalil Poswal told Excelsior that in view of elections in Punjab all the entry points where from drug smuggling takes place have been closed. He said police is also investigating where the consignment was to be taken.
He said the poppy straw and charas smuggled to Punjab mostly comes from Bijbehara tehsil in South Kashmir district of Anantnag. The poppy straw is purchased by the smugglers at Rs 300 to Rs 400 per kg and then sold at a hefty price of Rs 4000 to Rs 5000 per kg.
He said the synthetic drugs like heroin and cocaine is smuggled from Punjab in the State to spoil the life of the youth here. After every two to three days one or two drug smugglers or addicts fall in police dragnet, he added.
Sources said due to increasing pressure of police in the district the youth from Kathua cross over to Punjab for drug abuse and recently two boys of Kathua died in a hotel in Pathankot area in mysterious circumstances and it is suspected that they might have got an overdose of drugs.
Even a son of a Revenue Officer also died recently after getting the overdose of drug, sources added.
Poswal said that police has not only tightened it noose on the smugglers but also the consumers to eradicate the drug menace from the district and we don’t take action against those who smuggle or possess the bigger quantity of banned drugs but even those who keep three to four grams of it with them for consumption.
Police is now targeting the consumers as well and this has shown the fruitful results. However the drug addicts cross over to Punjab for consuming drugs. The Police after detecting the drug addicts takes them in rehabilitation centers and to rescue the youth Kathua Police has also opened a rehabilitation centre in the town. So far, 15 youths have been given treatment there also, Poswal disclosed.
Meanwhile, sources said that the drug abuse has gripped the other districts of Jammu region including border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, hilly districts of Doda and Kishtwar as well as Samba and Jammu districts.
The growing drug menace has become a cause of concern for the people of the region also who wanted the Government should act against the same to save the youth from its influence otherwise drug addiction can spell a doom for many families.
Going through the data available with the Government about the treatment of the people in drug de-addiction centers in the State in 2015 and 2016 a total of 1568 cases of drug addicts were treated in drug de-addiction centre in Srinagar in 2015 while 692 were treated in 2016.
As per this data in Jammu district, 432 cases were treated in 2015 and 178 in 2016 while in Anantnag and Baramulla districts respectively 364 cases and 234 cases were treated in 2015 and 239 and 157 cases were in 2016.
It indicated that about 4000 cases were treated in the de-addiction centers of the State in last two years while there is no data available for the remaining districts of Jammu region like Kathua, Samba, Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwar, Doda, Reasi and Udhampur said Zorawar Singh chairman Team Jammu which has launched a crusade against the growing drug menace in Jammu.
He said his organization has taken 70 drug addicts for treatment to Punjab from the Jammu during last two years and out of them 15 to 18 youth have returned showing 90 percent better results.

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