Nepal developing into transit hub for drugs smuggling

Kathmandu, Sept 7: With a steady rise in the number of drugs abusers every year in Nepal, the number of people arrested on the charge of its smuggling is noticeably increasing of late in the country. The statics of the past six years (2011-2015) made available by the Nepal Police show that a total of 15,496 drugs smugglers were arrested in the country in this period.

The number of people arrested on the charge of drugs smuggling was 2,174 in the year 2011 and this number was counted at 2,475 till the end of August this year. Over 2,000 individuals were detained on overage every year in the last five years (till last year) on the charge of their involvement in drugs abuse and smuggling. The number of women is around over 100 every year.

But this year, this number is likely to further go up. If the current trend continues, this toll would reach 3,300 by the end of this year, police estimated.

In the past six years, police have confiscated 14,881 kilograms of marijuana, the same quantity of hashish, 67 kilograms of opium, 52 kilograms of heroin and 28 kilograms cocaine. Local market value of marijuana and hashish is Rs 25,000 per kg while the price of opium is Rs 200,000 per kg. Heroin and cocaine, narcotic drugs, are traded at Rs 20 million per kg.

High number of Indian nationals in trade

In the last six years, a high number of Indian nationals have been arrested in drug trade.

In this period, police arrested a total of 763 Indian nationals which includes 729 men and 36 women.

In 2011 the figure of Indian national arrestees stood at 135 including 126 men and 9 women whereas in 2012 it was 187 including 179 men and 8 women. In 2013 police arrested 129 including 123 men and six men, in 2014, 133 including 127 men and six women, in 2015 the figure was 111 including 107 men and four women and by the end of August in 2016, Nepal police have arrested 68 Indian nationals so far including 65 men and three women.

Apart from India, police arrested a total of 80 foreigners from third countries which include 67 men and 13 women.

Nepal used as ‘transit’

The international drug smugglers have been using Nepal has the transit for smuggling. Cocaine and heroin arrive in Nepal from Latin American countries as Brazil and Peru. The cocaine and heroin are not used in Nepal rather sent to India, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia among other East Asian countries, Narcotics Control Bureau Chief DIG Jaya Bahadur Chand said.

General people are found to be used to smuggle illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin while a handful of influential and wealthy families of Kathmandu are the users as the drugs are expensive, Chand said.

The use of illegal drugs like marijuana, hashish, nurofen tablets, pheneragan and diazepam is common in Nepal, Chand said.

According to a study conducted by an organisation under the United Nations, presently 300 million people across the country abuse drugs. Likewise, trading of illegal drugs worth Rs around USD 332 billion takes place across the country every year.

Likewise, a study conducted by the Nepal government in 2069 BS puts the number of drug abusers at 91,534 across the country (85,204 male and 6,330 female).

An available data shows that the number of drug abusers in Nepal is increasing by 11.36 per cent each year. y Kiran Bhattarai, RSS

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