Nepal Is Becoming a Haven For Drug Trafficking
In June, Nepal’s police confiscated 2,600 kilograms of hashish in Kathmandu and arrested five people. This is the first time such a huge quantity of hashish was confiscated in Nepal. Earlier this year, in January, the police arrested a Thai national for carrying 1kg of cocaine worth US $200,000.
These incidents indicate the increase in drug trafficking activities in Nepal. According to the statistics provided by the Nepal Police, there has been a surge in drug trafficking activities in the country and the number of people arrested involved in such activities has increased as well. Seven hundred more drug traffickers were arrested in 2011 than in 2010. In the first six months of this year, 1,300 drug traffickers have already been apprehended.
These statistics clearly show that Nepal is becoming the preferred route for drug peddling in the region. Moreover, there has been an increase in the cases of drug use in the country itself.
SSP Nawa Raj Silwal, from the Narcotic Drugs Control Law Enforcement Unit (NDCLEU), says more foreigners are found to be carrying drugs. People from Africa, Europe, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have all been found to be involved in the illicit drug trade in Nepal.
Silwal says the condition will be getting worse if youths aren’t stopped from using drugs. “The future of the nation is dark until we stop drug trafficking,” says Silwal.
Police investigations also show that Nepal is emerging as a potential market and a transit point for traffickers to ship drugs to international destinations such as India, China, the US, and some European countries.
As elsewhere in the world, 26 June was observed as International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Kathmandu. As in previous years, at an event in Basantapur, government representatives expressed commitment for concerted efforts in the fight against drugs. Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar said that the government wants to work with the entire sector to fight against drug trafficking.
However, despite the incremental efforts from the government to control the illegal trade, drug users and traffickers are at large. According to Narconon Nepal, a drug prevention and rehabilitation centre, there are 124,000 drug users in Nepal, of whom 24,000 are women. But it’s clear there are many more people involved in this market as well. Basanta Raj Kunwar, Executive Director of Narconon Nepal, says it is estimated that around 90 million rupees are spent for illegal drugs in Nepal.
On the occasion of World Anti-Drugs Day, Animesh Singh KC talks to me about his past drug life and his rehabilitation process. He requests everyone to say “NO to drugs and YES to life”.
Photos: Rajneesh Bhandari