KOCHI: Gone are the days when Keralites used to enjoy festive occasions like Onam with drinks
Nowadays, a large quantity of ganja and hashish oil is being smuggled into Kerala from neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to cash in on the huge demand for these substances during festive occasions.
According to officials of the state Excise Department, there has been a huge demand for ganja and other contraband in the state after the department cracked down on the smuggling of illicit liquor into the state .
“Earlier, the festival occasions had witnessed large inflow of illicit spirit. But, things seem to have changed in the last couple of years as it has become convenient for the smugglers to transport ganja and hashish oil compared to spirit,” a senior Excise official said.
The official said the young generation in cities in Kerala largely preferred drugs to liquor and it could be one of the reasons for the arrival of large quantities of hashish oil into the state in recent times.
Of late, the Excise Department had seized hashish oil worth Rs 2 crore from two persons in Aluva, and in another incident, two persons were arrested from the city for possessing 13 kilograms of ganja.
Excise Deputy Commissioner K Mohanan said the department had taken all measures to check the smuggling of the liquor and narcotics, including spirit, into the state during the festival season.
“Separate squads have been formed to monitor the vehicles coming to the district. Directions have been issued to conduct thorough checking of the vehicles entering the district,” he added.
Additional District Magistrate KN Raji had called a special meeting of the officers to plan the steps to restrict the production and sale of illicit liquor and drugs during Onam.
With the help of the Forests, Revenue and Transport departments, the Excise Department conducted 841 raids in the district and 59 cases were registered under the Abkari Act and six cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
August 21, 2010
Express News Service