Goa in deadly embrace of drugs

The menace is not restricted to parts of North coastal belt but has reached down South to Canacona and the trade has risen exponentially

deepak laad | MARCH 13, 2020, 02:07 AM IST

deepak laad

A recent Hindi movie Malang, shot on locations in Goa, raised our chief minister’s hackles as it makes mention of Goa’s narcotic drug scene. Now onwards permissions to shoot on locations in the state would be granted only after reading the script was his way of protecting State’s  

image from getting sullied. Scenes are added and deleted from the movie under production right till the date of its release. Scenes alluding to Goa’s narcotic connections could be shot anywhere outside the state and added to it subsequently.  

The point is cinema reflects on reels what exists in real life. Can we deny that, of late, the State has become nationally and internationally known infamous hub for easy availability of drugs and ever increasing drug related business activities?  

Goa today is in deadly embrace of drug degeneracy and surprisingly we Goemcars are all complacent about it. As in the past, the menace is no more restricted to parts of the North sea belt and surrounding areas. The blight has spread its tentacles in areas of Old Goa, Verna and down south to sleepy village, Canacona. The trade in narcotics has risen exponentially in recent times, volume and value wise. When roadside peddlers are caught, the value of stuff confiscated from them is in most cases in lakhs of rupees. During festive season Pernem police had arrested a Nigerian with Rs 51 lakh worth drugs on him. Last year nearly 84 kg of drugs were seized valued around Rs 6 crores. So by a conservative estimate we can put the total trade taking place in the state, escaping detection, in the vicinity of say Rs 8-10,000 crores.  

Now this level of business cannot happen without the involvement of big names in the trade, also called mafia. Our CM dislikes the word mafia, denies its involvement and dismisses it as a rumour spread by his political opponent to malign his Government, but at the same time he doesn’t deny the fact that the drug related cases are on the rise. A mafiosi is not some dragon like creature with horns and tail. Simply put a group that does illegal business exerting hidden sinister muscular influence is called Mafia. Remember how the bosses of Corleone, Tataglia, Barzini, Stracci Mafiosi families looked in Frances Ford Copolla Film ‘the Godfather’? These groups in sharp suits look outwardly sociable, but carry out their nefarious activities with ruthless control through gangsters on their pay roll and the law enforcers in their pockets.  

The state may blare from the roof top about the zero tolerance towards the narcotics businesses but the present level of trade wouldn’t be possible without involvement and connivance of a few from the force -- normally called rotten apples. In the past police personnel were caught while selling sized drugs back to the peddlers. There have been cases of narcotic bureau officers caught in disproportionate asset cases. The small quantity drug seizures could be diversionary tactics to put the law enforcers off the scent of bigger deals.  

Apart from Indians -- Goans and non-Goans -- there is a full spectrum of nationalities -- Nigerians, Russians, Israelis, Germans -- dabbling in drug trade in the State. The lure of big easy money has drawn unemployed gangs of youths, college students and of late school students to drug peddling.  

The ministers, MLAs , Sarpanchs, Zilla Parishad aspirants and their party manifestos take credit for constructing roads, mounting CCTV cameras, creating and beatifying public infrastructures but do not even squeak about pro active strict actions carried out against narcotic business going on in their constituencies. Today in localities of Porvorim increasingly we come across weird type of persons speaking strange dialects moving around at odd hours. The national population register exercise can wait. Today what our state Government needs to do, on a priority, is get the police move door to door in localities checking whether police verification has been carried out of the tenants and carry out detail screenings of hotels, bar and restaurant employees. We know our police force is short by some thousand personnel, but for the time being the road side checking of traffic rule violators can be put on the back burner and they be assigned this verification work. Here the health of our future  

generation is at risk as their bodies are being hollowed out by the addiction. A generation of youngsters steeped in addiction, treading path of crime to fund their vice is staring at us starkly.  

The state has witnessed cases of unnatural deaths occurring near the EDM venues, allegedly on account of overdose of drugs. Every time a case like that comes up, ritualistically we are told that the viscera has been dispatched to forensic laboratory in Hyderabad and that the report is awaited. Even if a person was to walk all the way from Hyderabad to Goa carrying the said report, he would have reached by now. But not a single report has seen light of the day. Avoiding adverse publicity it’s publication would bring to the state, could be the obvious reason behind government’s hesitations in this regard, but we need to display courage and swallow 

the bitter pill.  

We understand that the North Goa GFP MLA has sent secret information on drug paddlers all the way to the prime minister of the nation, but wouldn’t share the same with the local police. The IGP had said no one came to him with such information. In a way it looks like the people’s representative is hiding information of criminals from the enforcement agency, which is same as shielding them from the law. The political parties need to rise above petty politics when the State is struggling to fight the drug demon.  

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