One of the major poll promises made by the BJP led alliance before storming to power in Tripura was to crack down on all crime syndicates operating with impunity under patronage of the CPI(M) led left front. The vision document released by the BJP before the elections promised that there will be a policy of zero tolerance towards these crime syndicates.
The most lethal and powerful of these syndicates operating in the North-eastern state was the drug cartel. The cartel was allegedly patronized by the CPI (M). However, after storming to power, the BJP led alliance has cracked down hard on the drug mafia and cartel operating in Tripura. As per reports, more than one lakh kilograms of marijuana and cannabis, more than 5,000 kilos of heroin and brown sugar, nearly two lakh bottles of cough syrup, and lakhs of rupees worth of prescription drugs, including painkillers, have been seized. 300 people have also been arrested in connection with narcotics related crimes, many of them having strong links to the CPI (M).
The drugs issue in Tripura has three broad dimensions, including widespread cultivation of ganja (cannabis), use of Tripura as a medium for transportation of heroin and other drugs received from Myanmar to other parts of India and finally, smuggling of prescription drugs from Tripura to Bangladesh. According to the eastern regional headquarters of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Kolkata, there was widespread cultivation of cannabis in Tripura with a staggering figure of Rs. 150 crore. Heroin and other derivates of opium were sent in from Myanmar and easily stored in Tripura. From here it was further transported to Bangladesh and other parts of India. As per NCB experts the trade is worth more than Rs 2,000 crore.
The third trade of smuggling prescription drugs to Bangladesh had also reached to shocking levels. The trade in drugs to Bangladesh is estimated to have been around Rs 600 crore to Rs 700 crore. Bangladesh becomes a fertile ground for trade in drugs given that it is an Islamic country where alcohol is strictly banned. Therefore, people in Bangladesh take recourse to cough syrups, pain killers, and other pharmaceuticals to get a high.
Chief minister Biplab Deb has also stressed upon blatant cannabis cultivation in the state. He has alleged that the trade thrived during the previous CPI (M)-led government. He said, “vast tracts of land all over the state, and even in (former Chief Minister) Manik Sarkar’s own constituency Dhanpur, were under ganja cultivation. I refuse to believe that he (Sarkar) knew nothing about it. In fact, the CPI (M) used to encourage ganja cultivation and used to benefit directly from the sale of cannabis.” He has announced that he has set a target that by the end of this year, not a single patch of land in the state should have a cannabis plant.
In recent months, there has been a serious crackdown on illegal transportation of drugs to Bangladesh. In fact, there have been many seizures of drugs destined for Bangladesh. The BSF has also recorded greater success in apprehending drugs destined for Bangladesh.
Tripura chief minister, Biplab Deb, has announced his resolve to end the drugs menace in Tripura. He has made it clear that it is his personal mission to make Tripura a state free of drugs. He has made it clear that, “this anti-drugs crusade is for the future of Tripura and for the young people of the state.” It is commendable how the Tripura chief minister, Biplab Deb is focusing on an issue which has been ignored for several years and in fact patronized by the previous government. This battle is going to be a long drawn one but it is worth appreciating that finally a battle has been waged against this issue by the present chief minister Biplab Deb.