The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh reviewed the working of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in view of the BRICS heads of Drug Control Agencies 2nd Working Group Meeting on 8th July, 2016. Shri Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, DG, NCB made a presentation during the meeting on the functioning of NCB, general drug scenario in the country and the ways and means for strengthening the drug law enforcement machinery.
DG, NCB apprised the Home Minister that apart from the traditional drugs like heroin and cannabis, newer drugs which are synthetic in nature are also entering the market. Along with this pharmaceutical drugs which are easily available and cheaper are now being abused widely. However, they do not fall under the purview of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) Act.
The DG also apprised the Home Minister about the steps taken by the agency in the past 2 years to tackle the menace. He informed that the NCB undertook a drive to indentify the areas of illicit cultivation of opium and cannabis and has destroyed these crops in coordination with state governments. During the first six months of this year, a record destruction of 5601 acres of opium cultivation was ensured, he added. He said that the Government has also banned the sale of opium husk in 2016, which has led to reduction of availability of opiates. Increased surveillance by BSF and other agencies in the borders has also reduced the incoming of heroin and opiates into India, he informed.
Informing the Home Minister about the functioning of the NCB during the last two years, he said that the Bureau has undertaken a large number of operations in coordination with other countries leading to the unearthing of as many as 29 international drug syndicates. Shri Bhatnagar further informed that the diversion of licit precursor chemicals into illicit market for production of synthetic drugs is also emerging as a major challenge for all drug law enforcement agencies. A total of 1900 units producing precursor chemicals have accordingly been registered with NCB and these companies are now filing quarterly return on a regular basis and being monitored by NCB for domestic control. These steps have effectively controlled the diversion and trafficking of precursors, he said.
With an aim of avoiding return of seized drugs into the market, the Supreme Court has recently issued guidelines to dispose off all seized drugs at the earliest by all agencies, DG, NCB informed. He also said that the Government has welcomed the guidelines and NCB has undertaken a drive to dispose off the drugs at the earliest. In this regard he informed that during last year, 2511 kgs of seized drugs were disposed and in the first five months of this year, 1732 kgs have been disposed, marking a pro-rata increase of 75.85%.
The Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh also discussed the drug scenario in Punjab, during which DG, NCB apprised about the changing drug abuse pattern in Punjab and stressed that the increase in street price of opiates due to less availability as a result of increased enforcement activities by drug law agencies are making addicts shift to pharmaceutical preparations like Tramadol, Buprenorphine, etc.
Informing about the steps taken to tackle the drug menace in Punjab, the DG informed that the state police, BSF, Customs and NCB have taken various steps. The BSF has augmented manpower at border areas and has increased its vigil by deploying improved technical aids. The exchanges of fire in the border and recovery of drugs have also acted as a deterrent against traffickers. The Punjab Police has established also a State Narcotic Control Bureau and an apex committee under the Chief Minister of Punjab for holistic tackling of the problem. The Customs has also made recoveries of drugs in the border, he added.
The Home Minister expressed his satisfaction on the steps being taken to tackle this menace by different drug law enforcement agencies. He also asked the agencies to ensure that all necessary steps be taken to further improve the situation.
IndianBureaucracy.com wishes NCB the very best.