Ramakanta Biswas

Illegal narcotic drugs trade continues to thrive in Jaleswar of Balasore district which is fast turning into a hub for the evil trade in spite of regular crackdowns by the Police and Excise departments.

The drug mafia involved in the trade are always one step ahead of police and using women and children as shield to run the multi-core business as well as evade arrest. 

Last night, the Balasore district police and Excise department carried out joint raid in Rajpur area and arrested a peddler, Sheikh Rafiq. The team recovered six packets containing 600 gram brown sugar. 

Similarly, the police seized 780 gram of brown sugar from a woman, Amina Bibi from the same village. The value of the contraband is around Rs 78 lakh. Just three days back, the special task force (STF) had seized brown sugar worth Rs 2.5 crore from Jaleswar.

During last night’s raid, the locals in Rajpur tried to attack a police team. 

Kamal Chakrabarty, a resident of Jaleswar said, “The actual offenders in the trade are getting scot free. Unfortunately, children and women are being made shield in the illegal trade by the mafia. One person is getting as high as Rs 10,000 for hiding brown sugar in his/her house for one night. The STF is making nominal raids.”

Today, Eastern Range IG Himanshu Lal visited Jaleswar to take stock of the situation. 

It is learnt that brown sugar is being smuggled to Jaleswar and Balasore from Murshidabad via Kharagpur in vegetable laden trucks. Later, the drugs are being supplied to Bhubaneswar. 

The illegal drug trade is mushrooming in Rajpur, Sasanbad and Sheikhbad of Balasore district.            

Balasore SP Sudhansu Sekhar Mishra said, “SDPOs and IICs are being given special assistance and those secretly engaged in anti-drug operations are being engaged while carrying out raids. We got a success in the operation and will try to make more seizure.”

According to sources, over 54 kgs of brown sugar has been seized in Odisha from 2020 to till date. Of the total seizure, the STF recovered 38 kgs worth around Rs 40 crore. 

The Commissionerate Police also seized brown sugar worth Rs 8 crore in the past five months and arrested 39 persons from Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. 

Under operation ‘White Spider’ which was launched on August 15 to checkmate the drug trade, the police had seized brown sugar worth Rs 27 lakh from Laxmisagar area and arrested two persons. In the last four days, 13 persons have been arrested under the operation and brown sugar worth Rs 7 crore was seized. 

“Under the operation ‘White Spider’, four cases have been registered so far and 750 gram brown sugar seized. Thirteen persons have been arrested who have been involved in the illegal trade.”