Drug Trafficking Soars in Odisha As Officials Neglect Informers

Bhubaneswar: Drug trafficking is on the rise in Odisha, especially in Bhubaneswar – thanks to the alleged apathy of the Excise department and police.

As per statistics released by Odisha Police on November 11, 2022, enforcement officials seized ganja worth Rs 290.24 crore in the first 10 months of the year – a substantial jump of 10.66 times since 2017. Similarly, the seizure of narcotic drugs was 28 times that in 2017.

In 2021, 1,675 quintals of ganja were seized, while about 34 kg of brown sugar was seized in 2020. According to police sources, the market prices of 1kg of ganja and brown sugar are Rs 3,000 and Rs 1 crore respectively.

However, much of the ganja, cocaine and other narcotic drugs smuggled into the state goes untraced. People in the know of things allege that this is a fall-out of the negligence towards the informers in the capital city, who received cash rewards for providing tips to the Excise and police officials on smuggling of narcotic substances, drug peddlers and related issues.

If the amount of cannabis seized in the state is any indication, Odisha has turned into a hub of ganja sale and smuggling. According to sources, the seizure of ganja, the largest narcotic substance smuggled into and from the state, could have fetched Rs 600 per kilogram for the enforcement officials as well as the informers.

Earlier, informers were paid Rs 80 for every kg of cannabis seized following their tip-off. Similarly, the seizure of cocaine on tip-offs provided by the informers earned them around Rs 40,000 for every kg of the narcotic substance. The reward money for the seizure of 1 kg of cocaine was Rs 2.4 lakh.

Sources in the Crime Branch informed that the Finance Ministry has revised the reward ceiling to informers and Enforcement staff in November 1999. And this has resulted in a drastic decline seizure of narcotic substances in the state. The Crime Branch has now requested the NCB to pay the increased amount given as a reward to informers and government officers engaged in drug smuggling and busting operations.

According to the revised reward rate, the informers and enforcement agencies are entitled to a reward of 20 per cent of the worth of drugs seized.

However, there was no such fixed rate of reward for informers and enforcement officials. As per the existing reward rate, an informer receives Rs 6,000 if he or she helps the enforcement agencies seize 1 kg of opium compared to Rs 220 for helping to seize the same amount of narcotics.

What is more interesting is that there is no record of the informants either with the police or the Enforcement department. As a result, there is no precise record spent on them.

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