The proximity of North Eastern states including Meghalaya to the Golden Triangle, which is considered a transit route for drugs, is the reason for the high drug trafficking trends in the region and in the state, state home minister H D R Lyngdoh said.
"There is a direct co-relation between proximity to the border and drug traffickers coming from areas contiguous to the borders and entering the state through national highways and the capital city," Lyngdoh told the Assembly while replying to a special motion moved by Hill State Peoples Democratic Party legislator Ardent Basaiawmoit on Monday.
"Heroin still finds its way across the border and traffickers make it accessible to the youth," he said. In the past three years, 209 persons were arrested and charged for possessing illegal substances, 13 have been convicted, while 19 cases charged under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic substance Act 1985 are pending," Lyngdoh said.
According to Lyngdoh, there was an apprehension that small time consumers may have turned to peddlers to sustain the habit since the margin of profit was high. Among the other action plans put in place to tackle the problem, he said the state agencies were collecting inputs on the hierarchy of suppliers, investigate in a more focused manner and alerts were shared with other state police. He said the state government was sensitive to the users and two NGOs were being funded through the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment under the integrated rehabilitation centre for addicts. Earlier, several legislators expressed disappointment at the state turning into a destination for drug users.
HSPDP legislator Ardent Basaiawmoit argued that Meghalaya has the highest proportion of drug users, which stood at 27.3 per cent followed by Punjab at 19.3 per cent and Jharkhand at 16 per cent. United Democratic Party MLA Paul Lyngdoh said the network of drug traffickers was very strong.
Independent legislator John Leslee Sangma said he was a victim of the chain of drug addiction wherein his personal security guard was a drug user. "I am bringing this to the government's attention with an aim to bring about a solution to the problem," he said.