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News Entry# 288273
  
Dec 11 2016 (09:10)  Note ban brings tobacco smuggling to halt (www.thehindu.com)
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Commentary/Human InterestSR/Southern  -  

News Entry# 288273     
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Posted by: rdb*^  127055 news posts
Flow of banned products to State hit due to fall in domestic demand
Nothing, even a series of raids, could check the steady flow of banned hazardous products to the State through the rail route. But demonetisation appears to have done the trick.According to the Railway police, a spin-off of the ban on high-value currency notes is the drastic fall in smuggling of pan masala products and cheap quality ganja by trains that directly connect the eastern part of the country to Kerala. They attribute the trend to the decline in arrival of migrant labourers coupled with a fall in domestic demand as several of them have returned to their home States post-demonetisation.“Seizure of tobacco products and ganja in small quantities were
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regularly being reported after the arrival of weekly trains like Shalimar Express, Guwahati Express, and Dhanbad Express. Now, the number of cases registered under COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act) has fallen by at least 80 per cent,” a senior Railway police officer said.Welcoming the Centre’s demonetisation drive, which they believe has put the brakes on the illegal business, the Railway police are now heaving a sigh of relief.Despite routine checks on board and on railway station premises, the steady flow of banned products through the rail route had been a major headache for enforcement agencies. For instance, the Railway police in Ernakulam seized close to 150 kg of tobacco in 25 separate cases in 2014, while in the following year, it registered as many as 18 cases. The number of cases, however, came down to 13 this year.
Similarly, they also seized around 25 kg of ganja in 2015 and another 40 kg of the contraband this year.
Rackets from West Bengal
Enforcement agencies have specific information on the operation of rackets in States like West Bengal.
The rackets are engaged in transporting banned tobacco products, cheap quality ganja, and psychotropic drugs to Kerala. These products are supplied mainly to migrant labourers in towns like Perumbavoor, which has the greatest concentration of migrant workers in the State.
Those who transport the contraband exit the station premises clandestinely to evade police surveillance.
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