16 May, 2021


Two villages in UP's Barabanki district openly produce heroin. The cops appear to be in a daze.

Nirala Tripathi
Only if you are in the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) or in the drug trade would you have heard of Tikra Usma and Tikra Murtaza. Some 45 kilometres from Uttar Pradesh's capital Lucknow, these two villages have a population of 6,000 but figure prominently on the drug trade map of Southeast Asia. Laboratories which process morphine into heroin are a cottage industry here. The local police seem to be in cahoots with the drug lords and seldom raid the crude makeshift labs which are guarded by the village dons and their henchmen. According to NCB officials in Lucknow, the drug trade in the two villages is worth about Rs 1,500 crore a year.

Some of the heroin—and its impure form, brown sugar—comes into the market in Lucknow and other UP cities. But the bulk of it is transported through truckers who deliver it to agents in Murshidabad district in West Bengal. From there it goes to Bangladesh and then on to dealers in Southeast Asia. Says an NCB official: "Very little is sold locally and the big players are not involved in it. It is the international market that the big fish...

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