Panaji, March 31 (SocialNews.XYZ) Everyday two drug raids are conducted in Goa by police and related agencies in a bid to crack down the narcotics trade in the state, according to statistics tabled during the Budget Session of the Goa Assembly that showed even in the pandemic year there were around 900.
Most of these are from the coastal police stations in North Goa district -- Calangute, Anjuna and Pernem which have popular beaches in their respective jurisdictions like Baga, Morjim, Arambol, that account for the lions share of the cases since 2017.
The police stations located in close proximity to popular beaches accounted for a significant chunk of the cases booked under the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic substances act.
In the years 2016, 2017 and 2020, police agencies conducted more than two raids a day, while in the years 2018 and 2019, more than three anti-narcotics raids were conducted by the state police officials every day.
While 898 raids were conducted in 2016; 818 raids were conducted in 2017, in 2018 and 2019, it was 1,006 and 1,179 raids, respectively.
In 2020 -- the year of the pandemic -- 891 raids were conducted.
Apart from local police stations, other police agencies involved in anti-narcotics raids include the Goa Police Crime Branch and the Anti-Narcotics Cell of the state police.
According to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant drugs are smuggled into Goa both for consumption and in transit.
"Goa being a tourist destination, narcotic drugs are smuggled in to the state for consumption and transit," Sawant said in a written reply to a legislative question asked by former Chief Minister and Congress MLA Ravi Naik.
Sawant also said that the state government was targeting youngsters in its drive against drug abuse.
"The Goa Police have been endeavouring to educate youths, students and general public regarding 'ill effect of drugs' through awareness programmes and to keep them away from drug addiction and drug trade," the Chief Minister said, adding that "more emphasis is laid on the delivering lectures to school and college students".
One of the most popular beach tourism and party destinations in the country, Goa also been regarded as a narco tourism destination, owing to the easy availability of drugs, especially in the popular coastal belt, which is home to popular beaches.
Marijuana topped the list of seized drugs in Goa over the last years, with 251 persons booked for possession of the natural drug locally known as ganja.
Since 2018, the Goa Police has also raided 11 plantations in various parts of the state where marijuana was being cultivated, arresting both local residents as well as foreign nationals involved in the drug cultivation racket.