On its usual vigilance rounds on Sunday, a joint squad of Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) recovered a massive drug consignment. Nearly 18.472 kg of ganja, estimated at Rs 1,84,720, was recovered from the Puri-Gandhidham Express.
The squad was formed in 2019 to crackdown on drug trafficking across states using the Railways. On Sunday, the team boarded train No 22974 (Puri-Gandhidham Express) in the evening from Nandurbar. Shortly, during inspection the squad found the consignment stacked between the partition on the ceiling of the toilet in coach S7.
According to inspector RM Patel, Special Operations Group (SOG) of the GRP Division in Vadodara: “Patrolling has been intensified on Puri-Ahmedabad Express, Puri-Gandhidham Express, Puri-Ajmer Express, Howrah-Ahmedabad SF Express, Chennai-Ahmedabad (Navjeevan Express) and Kakinada-Bhavnagar Express. Traffickers in Odisha use these routes to send ganja to Gujarat. We have booked a case against anonymous persons under the NDPS Act at Surat Railway police station.”
He added that some carriers have been caught with drugs packed in their belongings. “There has been an increasing number of cases of traffickers hiding the narcotics is the 6-7 inch gap in the ceiling partition above the toilet. While patrolling, if we find the partitions even a little loose or if there is even a slight suspicion that drugs may be hidden, we open the portion with screwdrivers. Every once in a while, ganja is found hidden in,” he shared.
Explaining further, he detailed that most carriers agree to drug trafficking for just a small amount of money and are not major players in the racket. The consignment is removed from its hidden place and secured in bags at least two hours before the destination. “In this case, it was too late to remove the material before the train could reach Surat, hence, it is right to assume that Ganja was not meant for Surat but for Ahmedabad or Gandhidham,” he added.
Even as Gujarat has, in recent years, seen a rise in influx of drugs through all modes of transportation, it is ganja transported by trains that continues to be a problem for law enforcement since this is domestic drug trafficking of marijuana grown in the country itself.
On conditions of anonymity, a senior GRP officer shared that the 12843 Puri-Ahmedabad Express is now infamously famous for being the harbinger of ganja into the state. In the last five years, GRP at Ahmedabad railway station have filed 23 NDPS cases after seizing ganja either abandoned or found from luggage of passengers on this train.