The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Drug kiosks spark alarm in Salt Lake

Months after a major drug haul in Salt Lake, police and the local administration have sounded an alert over the growing trade of drugs in the township. A number of unauthorised stalls and shops dotting the township’s blocks act as ‘retail outlets’ for drugs, including heroin and brown sugar.

The police and the municipality admit that these outlets are active even in front of schools, but prefer to pass the buck over cracking down on them.

The authorities say it is difficult to monitor the mushrooming of these stalls. “Many of them at key crossings, near schools and even inside the blocks sell illicit liquor and drugs,” Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police, Salt Lake, told Metro. “In recent times, we have seized drugs from some of them,” Nand said.

The civic officials of Salt Lake say things have reached an alarming stage. “There is a need for a thorough probe into the activities of these unauthorised shops. We also receive such complaints,” said Dilip Gupta, chairman of Bidhannagar Municipality. “There is a racket active within the township who protect these vendors,” he added.

Gupta said the municipality had earlier taken up several eviction drives, but the stalls resettle soon after. “We do not have the infrastructure to keep track of them,” the chairman admitted.

“It would be better if mobile vans, selling various commodities, are introduced with an official licence. They can be set a time schedule, during which they will sell their wares,” said Chandan Ghosh, CPM councillor. He said it was not possible for the administration alone to arrest the problem. “People of the respective blocks must keep a vigil on these stalls,” Ghosh added.

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