KOCHI: The city is turning to be a hot spot for the ganja mafia in the state. From the records available with the Police the ganja haul in the city has seen a constant increase. This year alone the city police registered more than 50 cases of ganja seizure and arrested more then 60 persons in this connection.
The supply of the ganja to the city is mostly from Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal. Ganja varieties known by several names such as Idukki Gold, Kerala Gold, Neelan and Neela Chadayan, that used to grow in the hills of Idukki are the best stuff available in the entire Asian continent. Regular Excise raids and police crackdowns have led to a drop in cultivation and trade of the narcotic herb in Kerala and the mafia has shifted its operational base to other states.
According to an Excise official in Idukki, the ganja reaches the state through border routes. “The Excise department has seized more than 700 kg of ganja this year and most of it was from the border check-posts and were to be transported to the city.
The ganja cultivation in the district is minimal and the mafia has shifted its base to rural parts of Orissa, Andhra and West Bengal. Sometimes railway routes are also used to transport ganja on a small scale,” the Excise official said.
The dried ganja costs between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 a kg but the price doubles when it reaches the Kochi and Kozhikode markets.
It costs around Rs 250 to Rs 400 for 10 gm of dried ganja while the pure Neela Chadayan is sold for Rs 500 to Rs 700 as it is scarce. Assistant Commissioner of Police, M N Rameesh (special branch) said the ganja seizure in the city has seen a high increase.
“The police have arrested more than 50 persons in this connection and the shadow police working under the city commissioner is constantly tracking such cases. The ganja mainly arrives from other states.
The increase in the inflow of the migrant labourers is advantageous to the mafia for they can use them to transport the stuff from West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh,” M N Rameesh said.