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Drug mafia targeting educational institutes, affluent youth in Rajasthan

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Jaipur, May 30 (IANS) Rajasthan these days is making news for drug menace as peddlers from different states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha are expanding their racket in the desert state by luring students and youngsters. Police officers told IANS that drug consumption has become a sort of status symbol for many students studying in the elite educational institutes of the state, and hence places where such youth from affluent families hang out are being raided.On May 23, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) under a campaign called ‘Operation Shankar’ in Jodhpur seized 850 kg ganja valued at around Rs 4.30 crore after a tip-off. NCB Joint Director Ghanshyam Soni said that the seized consignment was meant for supply in prominent educational institutes such as the NIFT, IIT, NLW, FDDI, etc. in Jodhpur.Soni said that many students studying in premier institutions in the state have fallen prey to drugs. The NCB official also said that there was a talk with the directors of various institutions, in which they expressed concern over students getting caught in the clutches of drugs. Stating that selling drugs around national-level institutions is a matter of concern, Soni said the NCB is running a campaign against it and that no drug supplier or drug mafia will be spared. He also confirmed that the NCB team had received reliable information that ganja was being consumed at hookah bars and higher educational institutions in Jodhpur and hence the raid was conducted.Meanwhile, officials said that cases of drug smuggling have also been registered in other educational cities like Kota and Sikar, numbering 392 and 235 cases, respectively.Jodhpur, as per the officials, also seems to be emerging as a hub of drug manufacturing as synthetic drugs like MDMA are being supplied from the villages in the district. Raids were conducted at two such factories where a large quantity of MDMA and the equipment used to make it were seized. The main dealer involved in this racket is believed to be a drug peddler named Prashant Patil from Pune, on whose orders MDMA was manufactured in Jodhpur, said officials.Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police raided a factory in Jodhpur and seized drugs worth Rs 200 crore on May 12, in which a person named Hukmaram was arrested. The accused was running a drug factory in the garb of a service centre. On April 27, an NCB team and the Gujarat ATS seized drugs worth about Rs 230 crore from towns located in Rajasthan and Gujarat and arrested 13 people, including six from Rajasthan. The NCB Joint Director said, “Ganja is also being supplied to Rajasthan from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The ganja seized in Jodhpur also came from these states. Vehicles were changed at many places on the way to Jodhpur. The NCB is now trying to break this chain. The bureau is also keeping an eye on Nagaur Road.”–IANSarc/arm

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