Assam Assembly polls | Officials concerned over record haul of drugs

In unusual trend, narcotic substances worth more than ₹34.29 crore have been seized

Elections in Assam have often been associated with the doling out of ‘BMWs’, a coded contraction for blanket, money and wine.

Going by the seizures by various enforcement agencies, the ‘BMWs’ appear to have lost out to narcotic drugs during the ongoing poll.

Between February 26, when the model code of conduct came into force, and March 31, the enforcement and regulatory agencies seized cash, illegally transported liquor and other items worth a record ₹110.83 crore.

Officials said there was nothing unusual about seizing cash, liquor and other valuables during the campaign phase. What stumped them was the seizure of narcotic substances worth more than ₹34.29 crore.

Freebies of the intoxicating kind such as Indian and foreign brand cigarettes and tobacco products also touched a record value of ₹14.91 crore.

The drugs seized included 6,892.82 kg of cannabis, 10.27 kg of crystalline methamphetamine, 4.22 kg of heroin, 1 kg of morphine and 252.85 gm of brown sugar. The surveillance teams also recovered 302,188 methamphetamine capsules and pills of other narcotic substances.

“The seizure of drugs was highest in eastern Assam,” the State Nodal Officer Rahul Das said.

Most of the tea plantations are in eastern Assam.

For Excise and Revenue Intelligence officials, this could be a disturbing trend, as other parts of Assam have been notorious for drug trafficking. These include the Barak Valley, used by dealers on the Myanmar-Mizoram-Bangladesh axis to illegally transport heroin, methamphetamine and high-codeine cough syrups. Western Assam’s Dhubri district is also a conduit.

“The seizure of cannabis in eastern Assam is not unusual, since it is grown in parts of southern Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. It is the other substances confiscated in the area that we are more worried about,” an Excise official said.

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