Himachal adopts strategy to tackle drug trafficking: Thakur

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Shimla, May 23 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday said the government was committed to make the state drug free by adopting multi-pronged strategy to tackle trafficking.

After interacting with Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu here, the Chief Minister told the media that the police have been directed to target big smugglers apart from small-time peddlers.

He said steps were being taken to destroy cultivation of poppy and cannabis and attach properties of drug traffickers.

A total of 2,126 cases were registered under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act with the arrest of 2,909 people from January 1, 2020 to April, 30, 2021.

Thakur said about 12.52 lakh cannabis plants in 7,917 bigha land and 2.66 lakh poppy plants in 52 bigha were destroyed during this period.

He said 161 cases have been registered against landowners or perpetrators.

This month the police have traced 66 bighas under illicit cultivation of 15 lakh poppy plants in the remote Chauhar Valley in Mandi district, The value of the cultivation was worth Rs 10 crore.

The CM said the state has succeeded in attaching and freezing properties of Rs 11.37 crore in 19 cases relating to the NDPS Act in the last one year.

The maximum attachment of 15 properties of Rs 3.79 crore were in Kullu district, followed by two of Rs 7.29 crore in Kangra district, bank deposits of Rs 18.31 lakh frozen in one case in Bilaspur district and bank deposits of Rs 10.67 lakh frozen in one case in Shimla district.

While appreciating the efforts of the police in effectively controlling the drug menace, the Chief Minister congratulated DGP Kundu and his team for their efforts in containing the menace.

The state police was contemplating to co-opt office of the Enforcement Directorate for conducting money laundering investigation against the accused under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, he added.