Crown of feathers

It is unfortunate that Nepal has been used as a soft target by sophisticated drug cartels and anti-social elements. The promise of a large profit from such illegal transactions is so attractive that a goodly number of poor Nepalis find it difficult to brush aside. This explains why the number of people — both Nepalis and foreigners — involved in trafficking drugs in and out of Nepal has not declined despite the risk of heavy penalties.Earlier, the lax security at the airports and at open borders had made it easy for traffickers to ply their trade. Ineffective laws against drug trafficking had further encouraged them. In recent years, however, these points have been tightened. But many Nepalis are still being lured into this trade, some of them fraudulently. Nepal has acted more as a transit route for drugs like heroin and hashish for the international market, where they sell at far higher prices. Traffickers have taken advantage of every possible loophole, including the use of the postal service, to send or receive their wares. For example, acting on complaints from the US government, the Postal Department has so far seized 181 US-bound envelopes containing narcotics and antibiotics, that too, without any forwarding addresses. Some drugs were even found wrapped in carbon paper to beat X-ray detection. This has caused much worry to the officials of the Department of Drug Administration and the Postal Department.

Traffickers have too many tricks in their bag. And postal service happens to be just one of them. The fight against drug peddling must therefore be continued on all conceivable fronts. Despite stricter laws than hitherto, Nepal’s anti-drug campaign has not been as effective as it should have been because of the greed of some of those who are supposed to crack down on it. Measures to improve on this front are no less important. Breaking the back of drug cartels is one of the biggest challenges facing the law-enforcement agencies. Apart from the need for legal and administrative measures, it is also very important to identify the root causes of the proliferation of this anti-social trade and take suitable steps to prevent it from happening.