‘Pablo Escobar’ is not a person but a system in Goa
No political party has had the will to get Goa off drugs; In fact, they approved it; The link between police, politicians and drug traffickers has made Goa a place of commerce, distribution and consumption
Pablo Escobar, arguably one of the world’s most infamous drug lords, whose cartel reach spanned countries and governments and whose affairs exceeded the annual budgets of many countries, became the subject of a political narrative in the northern coastal belt.
A former MP has called a current MP “Pablo Escobar”, accusing him of allegedly turning a blind eye or encouraging and approving the flourishing drug trade in the coastal belt. The MLA responded by stating that the old MLA should be thrown into a pond full of crocodiles (again referring to stories about how Escobar used to treat his enemies).
The “Escobar” exchange of the electoral season cannot hide that the system has Pablo Escobars at all levels
For more than two decades and even beyond, this has been the case:
(1) Drug gangs and their hawker system existed, each working in a particular territory
(2) Some police station staff have worked with or supported people in the drug control system
(3) The local “Pablo Escobars” controlled their territory, organized parties and sold drugs
A shadow drug economy has gripped North Goa, destroyed lives, and gave political backers of gangs control and money
Can Goa ever forget the spooky incidents of 2013 when an alleged drug leader of an African country was slaughtered, apparently by a local drug gang, and the ambulance carrying his corpse to GMC was arrested and the body placed on the highway? It took years for 51 Africans involved in multiple cases related to the incident to be deported. Many simply stayed behind, going back to the same system, mingling with the same locals and lower level cops and of course sections of political leadership.
Does Goa have drugs? Is it even a question? Here are some facts
From January to June 2021, Rs 2 crore of narcotics and around 90 kg of drugs were seized. We do not even consider sums not entered or returned to the system after entry.
In 2020, drug seizures increased 300% between January and March compared to the same period in 2019.
The drugs seized, according to press reports, included MDMA, ecstasy tablets, LSD, cocaine, charas, ganja, opium, amphetamines and heroin. In February, police recovered 710g of MDMA worth over Rs 71 lakh, found hidden in the rented room of a Turkish army commando, Murat Tas, in Arambol.
In 2018, ganja was seized in 169 raids by several agencies, including local police stations, the Criminal Division and the Goa Police Anti-Narcotics Cell. In the same year, 51 seizures of hashish (charas) and 20 and 13 seizures of LSD and MDMA (two synthetic drugs) were respectively reported.
In 2019, when ganja seizures topped the list of drug seizures with 151 cases, while hash, LSD and MDMA cases were 35, 11 and 21 respectively, according to the reports.
Ganja: Easiest to grow and sell
In 2020, the state witnessed 100 cases related to cannabis seizures, followed by hashish (31), LSD (17) and MDMA (21).
Ganja plantations have mushroomed across the state. In an IANS report, 11 of these plantations were dismantled by police services on the north coast of Goa. Ganja plantations and crops in several apartments have emerged.
What did the system do? Nothing. The displays are the highest prices of the drug belt
It is well known that some key positions in the drug belt are the most expensive, but the buyer of the position recovers from the system so quickly that the price is never unaffordable. The Anti-Narcotic Cell is not a free bird either, but a parrot in a cage. So how can this change? Herald has said this over and over. Police and investigative agencies must be separated from the active control of the chief minister and the cabinet. Their selection of key officials should be done professionally. The CM or Home Secretary should only review the success of cases from time to time and have no control over transfers and assignments of officials.
There should be an expedited system to investigate all cases involving a link between the system and the drug lobby. Those under investigation should be immediately suspended without pay and dismissed if found guilty. At the same time, no one should be the victim of a political vendetta.
Most importantly, drug money cannot be used to fund politicians. Which party can promise this?
Not a single party in any election has committed to making Goa drug-free. Lives are destroyed, the future of children is lost, in the villages, houses are rented to cultivate drugs and keep the traffickers. The basic ethic of village life in Goa has been almost beyond repair. Instead of tackling this issue together, politicians play a blame game when each of them has contributed to what can be called an absolute tragedy. They all have blood on their hands. Rather than realizing and admitting and doing something about it, they made it a blame game, a game that will only last until the last day of the campaign, after which everything will be forgotten.
Is this the future we want for your children?
Let all the police, politicians and others who have contributed the least to the drug threat in Goa answer this question. Is this what you would like for your children or grandchildren? The answer to this question is no and if there is still some awareness left, let the system and the people who are part of it take it upon themselves to stop this. And strong political will only helps.