Maharashtra: State Unveils Specialized Anti-Narcotics Task Force to Combat Rising Drug Menace

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Mumbai, 10th November 2023: The Maharashtra state government’s decision on August 31 to establish an anti-narcotics task force (ANTF) within the state police is set to combat the growing narcotics menace. This specialized force, led by an inspector general of police, will be deployed across all 36 districts. Operating under the purview of the state CID in Pune, the ANTF aims to address the escalating drug crisis.

To ensure the effectiveness of this initiative, the state Director General of Police (DGP) has issued a stern directive. Policemen, including senior officers, face strict repercussions if any other agency or unit conducts drug-related operations within their jurisdiction. Violating officers will not only be subject to departmental action but also face transfers.

Addressing recent incidents where the Mumbai police uncovered MDMA manufacturing facilities in Nashik, Solapur, and Ambernath, ADG (law and order) Sanjay Saxena emphasized swift action. Officers implicated in these cases were promptly transferred to the police control room, and departmental inquiries have been initiated for alleged dereliction of duty.

Saxena outlined the government’s multi-layered approach to combat drug-related challenges. The plan involves the establishment of an apex committee, state executive committee, district collectors, and commissioners of police and SP. The DGP has devised a comprehensive strategy to achieve zero tolerance for the drug menace in the state.
Highlighting additional measures, Saxena urged heightened vigilance around shuttered factories and laboratories, especially in MIDC areas. Coordination between 36 districts, with 130 meetings conducted, underscores the concerted effort to curb the drug menace.

In collaboration with NGOs, the government has established 130 de-addiction centers. Moreover, plans are underway to create detention centers for foreigners involved in drug-related cases, overstaying, or lacking proper visas. The focus extends beyond addressing drug cases to tackling the root causes, targeting both sources and end-users.

Sadanand Date, the state ATS chief, acknowledged the severity of the drug problem and assured proactive police action and vigilance. Every commissionerate now boasts an anti-narcotics cell, with the entire department sensitized to the issue. Date encouraged citizens to share information with law enforcement.

Providing statistical insights, Date shared data on drug-related cases between January 2022 and October 2023. During this period, the state police registered 4,314 cases of drug possession, leading to the arrest of 5,551 individuals. Additionally, 22,360 cases of drug consumption were recorded, resulting in the arrest of 21,082 people.