India

Drug trade in Goa down: Police

Panaji, May 10 (IANS) The COVID-19 related lockdown, combined with the mass departure of tourists and strict monitoring of borders has drastically reduced drug trade in Goa, police said on Saturday.

Superintendent of Police (Special Branch) Shobit Saxena also said, that the state's crime rate has plummeted by as much as 67 per cent, due to the lockdown, which saw a reduction in the number of thefts and burglaries in Goa.

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“Drug seizures have gone down completely, because borders are closed, tourists have exited. There is no demand (for drugs) as such. We have two to three cases of small quantity, which involved only ganja. No party drug seizures have been made. We have taken it seriously and drugs should not make a comeback,” Saxena told reporters on Saturday.

The official said, that with the checking along the state's intensified, especially for contraband and stowaways in trucks, during the lockdown, it has been difficult for drug dealers to smuggle drugs into Goa, where the demand had already also died down, due to the absence of tourists.

While Goa's resident population is around 1.5 million, in 2019 more than seven million tourists had visited the coastal state.

“Checking right now is intensive. Every person is checked at the border,” Saxena said.

Goa is one of the top beach and nightlife tourism destinations in the country, but over the years the state has also been popular as a destination for narco-tourism.

Saxena also said, that the crime rate in Goa had dropped by 67 per cent during the lockdown period which began in the last week of March.

“Most of the cases we have registered during the lockdown are related to lockdown violations. Normal crime case registration has gone down by as much as 67 per cent,” Saxena said.

He also said, that Goa's fatal accident rate, which pre-lockdown was around one per day, had also dropped, with vehicles being off the roads due to severe restrictions.

“Normal rate of accidents in Goa is one death per day, which is a very high, but during the lockdown, it has almost gone down to zero,” Saxena said.

–IANS

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