Police in Karnali launch campaign against drugsCases of drug abuse and smuggling have seen a steady rise in Karnali Province in recent years.
As cases of drug addiction and smuggling shoot up in Karnali Province, police have launched a campaign under the banner ‘Lantern Campaign Against Drugs’.
The Karnali Province Police Office in Birendranagar kicked off the anti-drugs drive from Thursday. The campaign will be launched in all 10 districts of Karnali, the country’s biggest and remotest province. Police said that as part of the drive, a coordination desk will be set up in each district under the chairmanship of district police chief comprising members from various stakeholders.
“We have launched the campaign as the use and smuggling of drugs are on the rise in the province,” said Bhim Dhakal, Deputy Inspector General of the Karnali Province Police Office. “Under the campaign, the police will launch a manhunt to bring the drug users and smugglers to book. The places of drug production and smuggling will be kept under surveillance.”
According to Dhakal, the authorities concerned will identify the most affected areas, communities and classes of drug addiction and implement measures to control the phenomenon.
The provincial police have a plan to form a ‘lantern group’ in each local unit under the chairmanship of the mayor or the chairman of the respective local body. Later on, similar groups will be formed in each ward, school and settlement to launch the campaign.
Cases of drug use and smuggling have seen a consistent rise in Karnali in recent years. Data from the Karnali Province Police Office show that in the fiscal year 2020-21, a total of 70 drug-related cases were registered and 133 people were arrested. Ninety-five similar cases were registered and 172 people were detained in the fiscal year 2021-22. Likewise, as many as 114 drug cases were registered and a total of 215 people were arrested in connection with the cases in the fiscal year 2022-23.
According to the provincial police, most drug users are in the 16–26 age group. Police said that among the most affected local units are Birendranagar and Bheriganga municipalities of Surkhet, Narayan and Dullu municipalities of Dailekh, Sharada Municipality of Salyan, Bheri Municipality of Jajarkot, and Musikot and Chaurjahari of West Rukum.
Police record shows that drug addiction and smuggling are gradually looming in Khadachakra and Tilagupha municipalities of Kalikot, Chandannath Municipality of Jumla and Chhayanathrara Municipality of Mugu lately.
The production and smuggling of marijuana, hashish and opium are on the rise in the remote area of Karnali districts lately, police say, adding that smugglers lure farmers from impoverished communities to produce the drugs and smuggle them.