The lockdown may be the reason for crippling the economy however, thanks to lockdown the city's drug market and its supply chain is severely hit. As per the Mumbai police's latest figures, the city's drugs seizure has came down by almost 98% in the last three months, "This is a clear indication that the shady business has been disrupted to the core," said Anti Narcotics Cell's (ANC) DCP, Shivdeep Lande. And it's not just the supply chain but the demand too declined drastically," added Lande.
The financial capital of the country is always the main destination for drugs and apart from Mephedrone (MD) no other drug could be locally manufactured. Charas is brought Jammu Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh while Chintamani forest in Karnataka is a major source of ganja (cannabis) to the city. Since the districts and states borders are closed amidst lockdown, the supply of these banned substances to the city have almost stopped. Whatever small fraction of supply is coming to the city is from the Jalgaon- Khandesh- Nashik belt.
Cocaine and MDMA also known as ecstasy a party drug, comes from European countries through passengers movements and through couriers. However, due to the lockdown foreign passengers’ movement and courier services has almost stopped, crippling the supply of drugs as well. The lockdown measures in European countries too have impacted the supply chain, said an official. MD could be created locally, however, it requires labour and chemicals which is not easily available during the lockdown, he added.
The lockdown has not just impacted the supply chain rather it has reduced drugs demands to a level never imagined before. As colleges and social gathering have been prohibited during the lockdown the free movement of contraband substances too have stopped. Such gathering and colleges had become a den for peddlers and for possible customers.
During the lockdown youngsters are under the watchful eyes of their parents and their pocket money is also being controlled and as a result they just couldn't venture out for addictions.
"Since the supply chain was broken, the peddlers had to rely on their balance stocks, however, due to the lockdown there was 24*7 police presence on the roads and the drug peddlers were unable to sell their stock fearing eminent arrest. As per our information many erstwhile drug peddlers have switched over to cigarette selling to meet end meets," said Lande.
As per the latest statistics from the city police, this year from April to June, the city police has seized narcotics substances worth just over Rs 12 lakh. In the month of June drugs worth Rs 8 lakh we're seized while in May the seizure was at its lowest at Rs 27,900, in April drugs worth Rs 3,77,000 we're seized from the city.
The last year’s figures present a clear contradiction, last year Rs 5.43 crore worth of contraband substances we're seized during April to June. In June drugs worth Rs 73.29 lakh drugs we're seized while In May the drugs seizure was of Rs 3,83,73297 and in April drugs worth Rs 86,88070 we're seized from the city by Mumbai police.
Ever since the lockdown was clamped on March 25, not a single case of narcotics seizure or peddling was recorded until July 2, when a 69-year-old person arrested from Cheetah Camp in Trombay with Heroin and Cannabis worth Rs 60 lakh. A day later two men were held from Dindoshi with 20.7 kilograms of cannabis worth Rs 3.3 lakh. While on July 15, the Anti Terrorism Squad arrested two drug peddlers Dilshad Abdul Kalam Khan, 30 and Imran Kamaluddin Shaikh, 24 with MD worth over Rs 1.10 crore.
The anti narcotics agencies always wanted to get rid off drugs menace, however, could only test success as big as the tip of iceberg due to the ever increasing demands and never ending supply.
The menace of drugs has always recorded growth, taking cue from its demand to the consumption rate or for the matter number of drug busts by the anti drug agencies as well. However, thanks to the unprecedented situation drugs business have crippled to its lowest. However, the agencies are fearing that once everything becomes normal the supply chain will eventually open looking for web of its peddlers and potential buyers.