Sri Lanka Alarmed Over Increased Smuggling Of ‘Kerala Ganja’
Sri Lankan officials have of late been reportedly raising alarms about the continuous movement of cannabis and other drugs from India, especially Kerala to Sri Lanka.
Writing for Deccan Chronicle, Arjun Raghunath reports that a series of seizures of ‘Kerala Ganja’ has been reported in Sri Lanka over the last few years. According to the report, in the last couple of months alone more than 300 kilogram of ganja, labelled as ‘Kerala ganja,’ was seized from various parts of the country.
On November 10, an Excise Department officer at Vavuniya in Sri Lanka was arrested on charges of possessing Kerala Ganja. Three days later, a Sri Lankan army soldier was arrested for smuggling Kerala Ganja in a bus. He had 2kgs of ganja and was traveling to Trincomalee. There have been several other such reports of arrests and seizure.
Meanwhile the excise officials in Kerala maintain that the state has no mass ganja cultivation these days, even in Idukki. Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, excise commissioner Rishi Raj Singh said, “Odisha, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh are the major places of mass ganja cultivation these days and mostly Naxals or ex-Naxals are involved in it. From there, it is being smuggled to Kerala through Tamil Nadu”.
He also added that, “Ganja from Kerala, especially Idukki, was in much demand in the international market. Hence, the chances of faking ganja from other parts of the country as Kerala ganja cannot be ruled out.”
According to the report, Sri Lankan navy has seized Kerala Ganja a total of 6 times till October. On May 22, 60 kg of Kerala ganja was seized at Waikkal while being transported to Jaffna from Negombo. In July 27 a person was arrested in Alvaia region in Jaffna possessing 22kg of Kerala Ganja.
Last year India Today reported that 60 kg of cannabis (Kerala Ganja) worth Rs 91,50,000 was seized by the Sri Lankan Navy in a joint operation with the Sri Lankan Police. The reports also added that, One-and-a-half tonnes of drugs have been seized by the Sri Lankan Navy and since July, 10 Indians have been arrested for attempting to transport drugs into Sri Lanka. (The New Minute – Agencies)