Shillong: Meghalaya police on Thursday destroyed illegal drugs worth approximately Rs 4 crore. The drugs were incinerated at the Star Cement factory at Lumshnong, East Jaintia Hills.
Out of the total, heroin worth Rs 3 crore was destroyed, Director General of Police (DGP) Lajja Ram Bishnoi informed. Cannabis worth Rs 80 lakh, Yaba tablets worth Rs 20 lakh was also destroyed.
The drugs related to more than 50 criminal cases and were incinerated only after it received court orders. Ten cases pertained to East Khasi Hills, two from Ri-Bhoi, 14 from West Khasi Hills and 25 from West Jaintia Hills.
Other cases are under process and additional quantities of drugs will be destroyed only after the court approves it. “The procedures laid down by the Supreme Court for disposal of drugs are being meticulously followed,” said the DGP.
With temperatures inside the cement kilns reaching 1,000 degree Celsius, the drugs were reduced to ashes “instantly,” the top cop added. “I sincerely hope the drug menace problem will evaporate permanently from the state,” Bishnoi added.
Ever since Bishnoi took over as DGP last year, there has been an increased focus by the police department on the drugs trade and drug use.
In the past year, Bishnoi said that nearly 24kg of heroin was seized by Meghalaya police, with each kilogramme worth in the range of Rs 8-10 crore in the market. In addition, more than 500 drug traffickers were arrested and 135 criminal cases were registered. The large numbers are testimony to the cooperation the police have received from the public in this fight, the police said.
However, the police are looking to do more to help wean Meghalayans off their drug habit.
The DGP said that around 1,500 awareness programmes have been conducted by the police force last year. Awareness is one of the six prongs in the police’s strategy to tackle drugs; some of the others include “continuous enforcement”, increased training for police and being involved in rehabilitation programmes.
In the past, prosecuting drug cases were delayed due to lack of testing facilities in Meghalaya as samples were sent to other states. However, the state purchased a device worth Rs 1 crore to test samples within seven days, the DGP said.
The police disposed off the drugs to prevent pilferage even from police stations. Police informed that CCTV cameras have been installed to help keep this problem in check.
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Deputy Inspector General Davis NR Marak informed that the state government has not notified a specific incinerator for the disposal of drugs. Using cement companies has become a precedent as there are other agencies, such as Customs, that also make drug seizures and they have also approached cement companies for incineration.
Explaining about the process of disposal, Marak said that each district has a committee comprising of representatives of other arms of government besides the police.
Each range – western for Garo Hills and eastern for Khasi-Jaintia Hills – also has its own drugs disposal committee. Cases happen to be a lot lower in the western range, he added.
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