The confidence of Goa being slowly cleansed of narcotics built over the recent police action was shattered on Thursday when the Narcotics Control Bureau Mumbai zone seized 3.2 kg of high-grade black cocaine worth Rs 15 crore from a Bolivian woman headed to Goa. The lady's appetite for risk and drugs is surprising, given that she placed the contraband in 12 sachets laced with chemicals to escape the baggage scanner at the airport. Moreover, it is learned that the woman confessed to being part of a more significant international drug nexus. The ANC, coincidentally, also arrested a Russian staying in rented premises with a considerable amount of Hashish oil on Friday.
Despite the police force launching a massive manhunt for drugs and managing to put a leash around the owners of two prominent party destinations besides keeping a vigil on others, the situation has not changed. Police have consistently arrested individuals possessing drugs with the worth of local seizures crossing Rs 50 lakh. Police have been on their toes moving in and out of the State. The Hyderabad police have set a precedent after picking up an Aujuna local and outstation teams of police force going into a huddle debating and strategizing on how to tackle the drug menace.
However, none of these deterrents seems to have worked, and drug circulation has gone unabated. Instead, there are now more seizures reported. Surprisingly, a Hyderabad man suspected to be on a drug overdose was recently admitted to the GMC. One of his colleagues admitted to the police that a cabbie had sold drugs. In August, a student from Puducherry died after attending a party along the north coast.
It is an accepted fact that narcotics are all over the northern coastal belt of Goa. Post the Sonali Phogat case, one expected the drug scenario would ease off, and Goa could find its way to detox. Instead, it now emerges that the addiction runs much more profound, and no police crackdowns could help the cause.
It is accepted that Goa is not a large-scale producer or distributor of narcotics. But being a party destination and given the tourism that the State is driving, drugs have become a crucial element. The frequent seizures speak of the depth of business being conducted and the active support being provided by even some of those from the police force.
Major seizures like the "black cocaine" headed for Goa make interesting headlines and speak how efficient the system is in tracking contraband, but on the flip side, it makes the everyday citizens of Goa sick of accepting the reality we live in. So can these seizures salvage Goa from its situation, or do we take this as a day-to-day routine?
The government, police force, stakeholders in the tourism business, taxi drivers, shack owners, staff, and common citizens need to reconcile to the common understanding that we need to stop drugs in Goa. Otherwise, this will continue to be business as usual and even worse as seasons after seasons knock on the State.