Activists call for crackdown on ‘dark spot’ at Middle Point, arrest of peddlers

Marijuana, alcohol consumption on the rise among teens in city
Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
6 Mar 2018

Generation after generation, teenagers have been lectured by everyone from police and school officials to family and friends about the consequences associated with drugs and alcohol. The words sink in the wiser but often don’t for others. Even resolute efforts by the newly established Department of Prohibition, which conducts awareness drives at regular intervals across these islands on the ill-effects of substance abuse, appear to have failed to achieve the desired results. Slowly but surely, alcohol and different forms of drugs particularly marijuana popularly known as Ganjs is making inroads into educational institutions in the city, if sources are to be believed.
While there are several dark spots in the city where alcohol and ganja are consumed openly, one located in the heart of the city has managed to remain undetected by the radar of the law enforcing agencies for the past many months. A tea stall meters away from the State Headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party at Middle Point has developed into a joint for school and college students where they consume alcohol, smoke ganja in full public glare, while the owner of the stall remains mindful of profits mutely witnessing the misdemeanour. There is no gender bias here as teens including girls, some in school uniforms, share space and the contraband completely oblivious of the hazards associated with it.
“Scenes witnessed here will shock the society. School and college students, some from coaching institutes nearby, can be openly seen consuming alcohol and ganja here right under the nose of the law enforcing agencies. Most of them appear to be in complete grip of drugs as they remain completely ignorant of the surroundings. Even students in school uniform can be found here. It is said that ganja in sachets ranging from Rs 20/- to Rs 1000/- is available at this location though to persons known to the peddler. Others need to bring along a regular client to purchase the contraband.  Some have devised novel ways to consume marijuana here. Besides, the conventional cigarette or chillum, pet bottles are used here to smoke marijuana. Though such practices, teens expose themselves to higher risk of respiratory and other health problems,” said some residents of Middle Point.
“Curiosity, kick and fun are some factors that pull youths into their ‘first-time’. By the time they discover the trap they have gotten into it’s too late. Though school and college authorities may deny, substance abuse is gradually gripping city students. It’s strange that such a prominent location in the city where all rules are being thrown to the winds has remained undetected by the law enforcing agencies. Though the Police seizes huge quantity of ganja at regular intervals, easy availability of the contraband makes it evident that dealers have found a lucrative market here. The law enforcing agencies should get its acts together and launched a sustained operation against the menace, which has now become a serious threat for the younger generations,” said a social activist.
When contacted, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, South Andaman, Mr Nishant Gupta assured to take appropriate action into the matter. “We’ve a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal activities and routine drives are conducted to confiscate illegally imported contraband. There has been record hauls of marijuana in the recent months and many has been arrested. But if such activities are happening in the heart of the city, the Police will take definite action against those involved. We also appeal to parents to keep an eye on the activities of their children and educate them on the ill-effects of alcohol and different forms of drugs,” said Mr Gupta.