Wednesday, June 22, 2016

NUKES : Critical Seoul NSG Meet Will Have Reverberations For India’s International Orientation


             NUKES : Critical Seoul NSG Meet
        in 2 days Will Have Reverberations
         India’s International Orientation
    in TOI Edit Page

JUNE 21, 2015

A decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on June 23-24 – as to whether to include India as a member – may be overshadowed in international media by other expected developments. These include the results of Britain’s referendum on staying in the European Union, an unprecedented US presidential election campaign, and the imminent ruling by an international court of arbitration in The Hague between China and the Philippines on the South China Sea.

But the NSG meeting is no less important, for the potential implications it could have for relations between India and China. A decision, particularly if it were not to go in India’s favour, would have reverberations for Asian security, climate change and global governance.

NSG is a 48-country cartel initially formed in 1974 after India’s first nuclear test, to control the flow of nuclear technology and supplies. A consensus decision at its next plenary meeting in Seoul, South Korea, to include India as a member would help India’s integration into the global nuclear order, completing its transition from an alleged rule-breaker to a formal rule-maker. India’s ability to export civilian nuclear materials and technology could also help lower the costs of nuclear energy and could boost the sector in energy-starved India.

By extension, it would facilitate India’s ability to deliver upon its commitment, made before the 2015 Paris climate summit, to source 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. For the past several years India has been working to align its nuclear and dual-use export controls with NSG guidelines, to make a strong case for membership.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in recent months become personally invested in the matter, visiting Mexico and Switzerland to secure those countries’ support and personally reaching out to leaders of other countries who have expressed hesitation. Support for India’s NSG membership has consequently become a litmus test of relations with India.

 Resistance to India’s inclusion has emanated from some predictable sources. Several smaller countries in Europe and elsewhere had earlier expressed concerns, echoed by non-proliferation groups in the US and elsewhere who believe that India’s entry somehow undermines the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and encourages Pakistan’s rapidly-growing nuclear arsenal. These are hollow arguments. NSG and NPT are distinct arrangements, while Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal is increasingly an insurance against US intervention.

However, the primary resistance to India’s inclusion comes from China. Beijing’s main argument is that India is a non-signatory of NPT, but it conveniently overlooks the fact that France was admitted as an NSG member before it joined NPT. India believes NPT is fundamentally unfair, permanently legitimising the nuclear weapons of certain countries, including China, while denying India for no reason other than its belated development of nuclear weapons.

China’s resistance to India’s membership is ultimately political, intended to constrain India’s rise as a global power. India is often described as a swing power in the evolving international system.

 While deepening its strategic partnership with the US as a fellow democracy and status quo power, New Delhi has found common cause with Beijing in many areas. China is India’s largest trade partner in goods, and is an increasingly important source of investment. India and China also cooperate in various international forums, including on matters of national sovereignty and on increasing representation for the emerging markets in global governance.

China’s decision to accept or deny India’s membership in the NSG is therefore crucial. Its marshalling resistance in the face of overwhelming support for India would severely set back its relations with India, with possible consequences for bilateral goodwill, cooperation on climate change and multilateral groupings such as Brics.

China’s actions would stand in stark contrast to the US, which has actively lobbied for India’s inclusion in NSG. This would have reverberations for India’s international orientation. The future of Asian geopolitics could well be determined later this year in The Hague. But just as easily, it could be shaped by a decision made at Seoul in a couple of days.


Monday, June 20, 2016



                                         PROJECT SARASWATI
                 DATING OF MAHABHARTA

                          Anarta Kingdom

This detailed map shows the locations of Kingdoms mentioned in the Indian epics.


Anarta is the name of a mythological kingdom of ancient India described in the Mahabharata, roughly forming the northern Gujarat state of India. It was foundet by a grandson of Vaivasvata, inter alia the father of the present Manu[clarification needed] and of Yama, named Anartha. He build a fortress at Kusasthali (Dvaraka), which was later flooded by Varuna. The place remain then for some time as a forest land, before Krishna and the Yadavas came there and build Dvaraka.[1] It was then ruled by Yadavas after they fled from Mathura of Surasena Kingdom, due to the attacks of Jarasandha, the king of Magadha. The Yadava chiefs like Vasudeva Krishna, Bala Rama (brother of Krishna), Kritavarma and Satyaki, ruled this kingdom under their king Ugrasena. In Mahabharata, Dwaraka is considered as a capital city of Anarta Kingdom. But some other ancient texts like Mahabhagavata, mentions Dwaraka and Anarta as two independent kingdoms. As per the Purana viz. Bhagavata Purana, Bala Rama's wife Revati was from this kingdom.

Other Yadava kingdoms in west-central India include:
  1. Chedi (Jhansi district in Uttar Pradesh)
  2. Surasena (Mathura district in Uttar Pradesh (also known as Vraja)
  3. Dasarna (south to Chedi Kingdom)
  4. Karusha (east to Dasarna Kingdom)
  5. Kunti (North to Avanti Kingdom)
  6. Avanti (Ujjain district in Madhya Pradesh
  7. Malava (West to Avanti Kingdom)
  8. Gurjara (southern Rajasthan)
  9. Heheya (Narmada valley around the city Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh)
  10. Saurashtra (southern Gujarat)
  11. Dwaraka (offshore the Dwarka city in Gujarat)
  12. Vidarbha. (north eastern Maharashtra)

References in Mahabharata[edit]

Draupadi's sons in Anarta country undergoes military training[edit]

MBh. 3.182

When Pandavas were exiled to the woods, by the Kauravas, the five sons of Pandavas, born to Draupadi, were sent to Panchala, the kingdom ruled by their maternal grandfather Drupada. They later went to the Anarta Kingdom, ruled by the Yadavas, so that they can stay with their step brother and dear friend, Abhimanyu, and learn military science from eminent Yadava warriors.

Vasudeva Krishna's words to Princess Krishna (alias Draupadi, Panchali):- Those sons of yours, are devoted to the study of the science of arms, are well-behaved and conduct themselves on the pattern of their righteous friends. Your father and your uterine brothers proffer them a kingdom and territories; but the boys find no joy in the house of Drupada, or in that of their maternal uncles. Safely proceeding to the land of the Anartas, they take the greatest delight in the study of the science of arms. Your sons enter the town of the Vrishnis (Dwaraka) and take an immediate liking to the people there. And as you would direct them to conduct themselves, or as the respected Kunti would do, so does Subhadra (their stepmother) direct them in a watchful way. Perhaps, she is still more careful of them. As Pradyumna is the preceptor of Aniruddha, of Abhimanyu, of Sunitha, and of Bhanu; so he is the preceptor and the refuge of your sons also! And a good preceptor, would unceasingly give them lessons in the wielding of maces and swords and bucklers, in missiles and in the arts of driving cars and of riding horses, being valiant. And he, Pradyumna, the son of Rukmini, having bestowed a very good training upon them, and having taught them the art of using various weapons in a proper way, takes satisfaction at the valorous deeds of your sons, and of Abhimanyu. O daughter of Drupada! And when your son goes out, in pursuit of (out-door) sports, each one of them is followed thither by cars and horses and vehicles and elephants.’

Vasudeva Krishna, next told to the exiled Pandava king Yudhishthira, that the fighting men of Anarta, consisting of Satwata, Dasarha, Kukura, Adhaka, Bhoja, Vrishni and Madhu tribes will be kept ready to overthrow the enemies of Pandavas, viz the Kauravas headed by Duryodhana, ruling the Kuru city Hastinapura. Bala Rama, with plough as his weapon, will lead the warriors consisting of bowmen, horsemen, foot-soldiers, cars and elephants.

In the fifth book, Chapter 83 of Mahabharata (MBh 5.83), it is mentioned that Pandava's mother Kunti also stayed for some time in Anarta, during the exile of the Pandavas.

Pandava's cousins from Anarta join them at Upaplavya[edit]

  • Mbh 4.72
After the expiry of the thirteenth year, the five Pandavas took up their abode in one of Virata’s towns called Upaplavya. Arjuna brought over Abhimanyu and Vasudeva Krishna, and also many people of the Dasarha race from the Anarta country.

Both Duryodhana and Arjuna arrive at Anarta city (Dwaraka) seeking alliance[edit]

  • Mbh 5.7
Both Duryodhana and Arjuna arrived at the city of Anarta (Dwaraka alias Dwaravati) seeking alliance of Yadavas, to join their side in the Kurukshetra War. Some Yadava heroes allied with Kauravas while others allied with the Pandavas. Vasudeva Krishna allied with the Pandavas and promised not to take any weapons in the battle. Thus he took part in the war not as a warrior, but as a diplomat, an ambassador of peace, an adviser on war-strategy and as the guide and car-driver of Arjuna. The army owned by Vasudeva Krishna, called the Narayanas were given to Duryodhana. The Narayanas consisted of a large body of cowherds, all of whom are able to fight in the thick of battle.

Another hero Bala Rama, took a neutral standpoint, though he wished to aid Duryodhana, because he cannot fight against his brother Vasudeva Krishna, who had already joined the Pandavas. Thus he will not fight for any of the parties and wished to set for a pilgrimage over Sarasvati River.

 The Bhoja Yadava hero, Kritavarman joined Duryodhana with a body of troops numbering an Akshauhini of troops. Another Yadava hero, Satyaki joined the Pandavas, with an Akshohini of troops.

Anarta mentioned as a kingdom of Ancient India (Bharata Varsha)[edit]

  • MBh. 6.9
the Pundras, the Bhargas, the Kiratas, the Sudeshnas, and the Yamunas, the Sakas, the Nishadhas, the Anartas, the Nairitas, the Durgalas, the Pratimasyas, the Kuntalas, and the Kusalas;

Anartas in Kurukhsetra war[edit]

  • Satyaki was a general in the Pandava, army. He was a chief of Anartas. (9. 17)
  • Kritavarman was a general in the Kaurava, army (9. 17). He is described as the dweller of the Anarta country, the son of Hridika, the mighty car-warrior, the foremost one among the Satwatas, the chief of the Bhojas.
  • Vivingsati, one among the 100 Kaurava brothers, had slain hundreds of Anarta warriors.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

PROJECT SARASWATI : Science catching up to The Vedas



        Science catching up to The Vedas  


Published on Apr 1, 2014
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rigvedic Rivers mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata mention that the Sarasvati dried up in a desert. The goddess Sarasvati was originally a personification of this river, but later developed an independent identity and gained meaning. The identification of the Vedic Sarasvati River with the Ghaggar-Hakra River was accepted by Christian Lassen, Max Müller, Marc Aurel Stein, C.F. Oldham and Jane Macintosh, while some Vedic scholars believe the Helmand River of southern Afghanistan corresponds to the Sarasvati River.

Course of Saraswati Palaeo-drainage network formed by several palaeochannels has been worked out by different researchers in western Rajasthan and neighbouring states, which is mainly buried under sand cover of the Thar Desert and parallel to the Aravalli Hills.

 In the last couple of years with the advancement in satellite and remote sensing technology, palaeochannels have been mapped systematically.

Different workers have different opinions about the number of courses of Saraswati River. On the basis of aerial photographs and Landsat imagery, faults/lineaments and palaeo-drainage system in North West India have been delineated. Several authors have opined that upliftment of the Aravallis led to the westward migration of Saraswati River system due to fault-controlled movements. The faults have been and continue to be active, registering various sideways and up--down movements in the geological past. As a consequence, there was uplift and sinking or horizontal (lateral) displacement of the ground. Under such tectonophysiographic upheavals, the rivers and streams were frequently forced to change their courses, sometimes gradually, sometimes abruptly, as seen on satellite images.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

PROJECT SARASWATI: K.S Valdiya On The Glacial Saraswati


                                   PROJECT SARASWATI

     K.S Valdiya On The Glacial Saraswati

                      In Current Science

                                         Posted By


Tuesday, January 15, 2013
In the latest issue of Current Science, geologist K.S. Valdiya has written a long response to a paper   by  Giosan 2012 which concluded that the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers of northwest India stopped flowing into the Ghaggar river by early Holocene. There is a companion paper by Clift et al 2012 on this topic which Valdiya does not elaborate on.

The Ghaggar floodplains formed the agricultural heartland of the Harappan civilization. This finding by Giosan et al and Clift et al if true, meant that during the Harappan civilization the Ghaggar was not a glacial fed river but a monsoon fed river, but likely a perennial one due to a wetter climatic regime in the Ghaggar catchment areas of the Siwaliks. That in turn had implications for Harappan water use and agriculture methods. This question has also fed the controversy about the origin of the Aryans and the relationship between Aryans and the Harrappan civilization, since some say that a glacial Ghaggar was the Vedic Saraswati mentioned in the Rig Ved, an ancient collection of hymns in the Sanskrit language composed perhaps around 1500 B.C. or so. { Vedas are mentioned both in Ramayna ie beginning of early Holocene & Mahabharta of late Holocene, exactly at  3327BC  thus places Vedas in around 7500BC - Vasundhra  }

K.S. Valdiya strongly disagrees with Giosan et al's findings that Holocene climate imparted a characteristic geomorphology to large glacial rivers of this region and that their finding suggests that there was no glacial river flowing on the plains of Haryana and Punjab during mid late Holocene. Goisan et al in due course may provide a detailed reply to Valdiya's arguments. I do have several comments on the way in which K.S. Valdiya has presented his evidence.

1) Validya refers to the work of Saini et al 2009 who analyzed paleochannels near Sirsa in Haryana. Their work shows two main phases of fluvial activity. A major paleochannel complex in the late Pleistocene developed more than 20 thousand years ago, a timeline much before the Harappan civilization.  A much minor fluvial regime was also active between 6000 BP and 3000 BP i.e. during the Harappan civilization. They however draw no conclusion on whether this younger channel during the mid Holocene was glacial fed or monsoon fed. In another recent paper Saini and Mujtaba 2010 carry out more detailed OSL dating of a channel in the same paleochannel complex. They say that a lack of micaceous grains in channel sands of age 6000 BP to 3000 BP point to not a high Himalayan origin but a piedmont (Siwalik) origin. Valdiya does not mention this paper.

Valdiya referring to Saini et al 2009 says that the presence of minerals like tourmaline, hornblende, garnet, kyanite, biotite etc. in sands of the paleochannel would suggest a source in the high metamorphic Himalayas thereby implying a glacial connection. a) Again, the relevant question here is the mineralogy of sediment of mid late Holocene age and Saini et al don't present a detailed analysis of changes in mineralogy with age.  The mineralogy of the younger fluvial regime made up mostly of silty sand and clay is not described in any detail. b) Siwalik sandstones derived from erosion of the metamorphic Himalayas contain these minerals. These metamorphic minerals may also be then recycled from the Siwaliks into younger deposits.

2) Valdiya takes issue on a lack of large scale incised channels in the interfluve around the Ghaggar region. He points out the Holocene landforms if present would have been buried by sand blown in from the Thar desert making it difficult to recognize relict landforms. There are sandy deposits in this region especially in the western parts of Haryana  but if glacial rivers were flowing during the Holocene across the Ghaggar interfluve then why are incised landforms not preserved in the near vicinity where Sutlej and Yamuna come out on to the plains? These areas are quite far away from the influence of major eolian activity. Old terraces of Sutlej and Yamuna along their present day course can be recognized, so why not in the adjacent interfluve, oriented towards the Ghaggar?  Besides, the paleochannel that Saini and Mujtaba  2010 have worked on has a distinct topography outlined by bluffs represented by 5 meters scarps separating the channel from the uplands. Which means that relict landforms are preserved at places.

3) Valdiya emphasizes giving examples that sand has covered many parts of this region and therefore ancient landforms may not be visible to satellite borne instruments. He gives an interesting example which I want to use to make a point. He says that monuments in eastern U.P. are concealed under heaps of sand that look like knolls or small hillocks (p.43). So, sand may blanket and hide the actual feature but the relief may not get smoothened. And SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission), - the technology that Giosan et al have used- measures the relief i.e it makes a high resolution map of elevation difference.  Similarly, large incised valleys may get draped by sand over time but unless sand has completely obliterated the elevation difference between the valley bottom and the upland and created a flat surface, that feature may be recognizable on an elevation map created by SRTM.

4) Stream terraces which exclusively drain the Siwaliks contain pebbles derived from erosion of metamorphic rocks. Valdiya writes of these pebbles: Very similar pebbles occur in the higher terraces lining the two banks of the anomalously wide and straight course of the east-flowing petty Bata stream, within the Siwalik  terrane. The Siwalik is wholly made up of softer sandstones, maroon claystones and shales. The remnant of the terraces can be seen at Garibnath and Sudanwala (Figure 11). I have seen the pebbles of metamorphic rocks at Sudanwala. One cannot imagine occurrence of pebbles of Lesser Himalayan rocks in a small tributary of stream originating in and flowing through exclusively in the Siwalik terrane unless the Himalayan-born Yamuna had once flowed through its channel which is as wide as that of the Yamuna. [emphasis mine]

I am surprised that he left out another Siwalik lithology exposed in this area, the conglomerate facies which was deposited in Pliocene-Early Pleistocene. These gravel beds deposited in braided streams within alluvial fan complexes were then deformed along with the other sediments to become the Siwalik hills.  The pebbles in Siwalik conglomerates were derived from a variety of source rocks including metamorphic rocks of the Lesser and Higher Himalayas.

As the Siwalik hills arose, a newer drainage system was initiated. The terraces that Valdiya mentions mark the level of the former river beds of this drainage system but which now lie abandoned at higher elevations as the river progressively cut into its alluvium and bedrock. The terraces will therefore contain material which has been reworked from the Siwalik bedrock and so one can easily imagine pebbles of Lesser Himalayan rocks in a small stream flowing exclusively in the Siwalik terrain. The pebbles may ultimately be of Lesser Himalayan origin but they may be recycled via the Siwaliks into streams that have no connection to the Lesser Himalayas. Valdiya does not consider this alternative explanation.

He further suggests that the Tons which is a glacial tributary of  the Yamuna once flowed westwards through the Poanta valley and joined the Markand river, a tributary of the Ghaggar. Is there sedimentological evidence for this taking place in the mid late Holocene? Are there sedimentary facies and sedimentary structures indicating westerly paleocurrent of a large river in the Poanta valley? Valdiya does not provide any compelling evidence for this scenario.  I suspect that the metamorphic pebbles Valdiya mentions have most likely been sourced from the Siwalik conglomerates.

5) Valdiya misquotes a paragraph from Giosan et al (p.51):

Interestingly, Giosan et al.1 concede that ‘the Yamuna may have contributed sediment to this region…’ (Hakra–Ghagghar) ‘before the Mature Harappan Phase. For we recovered 5400-year-old sandy flood deposit at Fort Abbas (in Cholistan) Pakistan’… ‘And on the upper interfluve, fine-grained floodplain deposition continued until the end of the Late Harappan Phase’

This makes it seem that Giosan et al are suggesting that the Yamuna was flowing in this region around 5400 years ago. Except that this is not at all what Giosan et al write and imply. Here is the full paragraph from Giosan et al.:

Provenance detection (32) suggests that the Yamuna may have contributed sediment to this region during the last glacial period, but switched to the Ganges basin before Harappan times.  The present Ghaggar-Hakra valley and its tributary rivers are currently dry or have seasonal flows. Yet rivers were undoubtedly active in this region during the Urban Harappan Phase. We recovered sandy fluvial deposits approximately 5;400 y old at Fort Abbas in Pakistan (SI Text), and recent work (33) on the upper Ghaggar-Hakra interfluve in India also documented Holocene channel sands that are approximately 4;300 y old. On the upper interfluve, fine-grained floodplain deposition continued until the end of the Late Harappan Phase, as recent as 2,900 y ago (33) (Fig. 2B). This widespread fluvial redistribution of sediment suggests that reliable monsoon rains were able to sustain perennial rivers earlier during the Holocene and explains why Harappan settlements flourished along the entire Ghaggar- Hakra system without access to a glacier-fed river (5, Fig. 3A). 

Valdiya, by quoting only fragments of sentences and adding "before the mature Harappan Phase" and  a "For" in the second line has given the paragraph a different meaning than what the authors intended. Perhaps he can explain why he did not faithfully reproduce the text from Giosan et al.

To summarize:

The Ghaggar was a much larger river in the past. Most geologists won't dispute the basic findings collated by Valdiya on the influence of tectonic activity on fluvial sedimentation and channel migration,  and on the occurrence of paleochannels and thick and wide bodies of buried channel sands suggesting a vigorous long lasting fluvial regime in the past. Valdiya criticizes Giosan et al. on what he think is the excessive importance given by them to climatic controls on fluvial processes. He thinks tectonic influences may also have resulted in the Indus and other rivers incising, and shaping their landforms. He may have a point there. Fluvial processes over the long term may have both tectonic and climatic drivers and the story of the evolution of the Indus megaridge and other features may well be examined from a tectonic perspective as well. That though does not answer the other important question, which is, was the Ghaggar a glacial river during Harappan times.

As the authors of one of the papers Valdiya refers to (Sinha et al 2012)  say; "the timing and provenance of this system remains to be resolved" [emphasis mine]. The question and controversy always has been whether this vigorous fluvial regime reflects a glacial river or a monsoonal river and the timing of changes in fluvial regime if any. Clift et al's study - undertaken in the lower reaches of the same buried Ghaggar- Hakra paleoriver system that Sinha et al 2012 also identify - proposes a provenance and a chronology and takes a first big step towards answering that question. Their findings suggest that glacial fed rivers did flow in these Ghaggar paleochannels, but they changed course by late Pleistocene to early Holocene, several thousand years before the Harappan civilization. Tectonic forces may well have caused the Sutlej and Yamuna to shift course. It just seems to have occurred earlier than what many geologists have reasoned.

In this rebuttal Validya has not presented any new sediment provenance fingerprinting and chronological data to dispute this and he does not address the work of Clift el al directly. I think his suggestion that the provenance of the Sarawati (Ghaggar) system sediments should be studied is a good one. Clift et al have done just that for the lower reaches of the Ghaggar.  New data from the upper reaches of the paleochannels that Valdiya mentions or a newly discovered channel that shows clearly the presence of a glacial river during mid late Holocene would be a serious challenge to Clift et al and Giosan et al's work. But without such new data, Valdiya has not made a convincing argument that the Ghaggar was glacial during Harappan times.

Related Posts:

1) Geological Update On the River Ghaggar
2) New Geochemical and Sedimentological Work On Ghaggar
3) New Geomorphological Work on Ghaggar

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

OROP : Interaction with Justice Reddy,Chairman OROP Commission.


           Interaction with Justice Reddy,
            Chairman OROP Commission.



Punjab’s Drug Crisis: Afghan Heroin




        Punjab’s Drug Crisis: Afghan Heroin

          Smuggled Via Pakistan – Analysis
                                            Gaurav Dixit*



The international community has fought two simultaneous wars in Afghanistan since 2001- one against the insurgent groups, and second against the rapid growth of opium cultivation. In spite of spending more than 8 billion USD and losing thousands of lives to bring down the increasing opium cultivation and production, the production has increased 35 times since US invasion in 2001. In 2015, Afghanistan alone supplied the world with 90 percent of the heroin, an opium derivative.

Though the bulk of the opium drugs are destined to reach Europe and America through Iran and Central Asia, a substantial amount of the heroine gets smuggled to India via Pakistan. The Afghan heroin that reaches Pakistan is primarily for the domestic market. But besides supplying for local consumption, large quantities of drugs are destined to India through Punjab, Kashmir, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The rise in demand in states like Punjab has increased heroin smuggling from across the border

The terrible condition of Punjab can be gauged from the fact that almost 0.84% [ it is underestimste ] of Punjab’s population is opioid – opium derivatives—dependent. In a population of around 2.77 crore people, there are more than 2.23 lakh opioid-dependent people. While most of the heroin in Punjab comes from Afghanistan via Pakistan, poppy husk and chemical drugs come from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

A new study conducted by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) at AIIMS found that opioids worth Rs 7,500 crore are consumed in Punjab every year; of these heroin alone constitute a massive Rs 6,500 crore.
The data on the extent, pattern and trends of drug abuse in India are incomprehensive and at times erroneous and unreliable, yet some of the recent studies in Punjab have highlighted the growing extent and pattern of drug abuse. The first ever study of its kind in Punjab called “Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey (PODS) offers an approximation of size of opioid dependent population in Punjab.

The survey was conducted in 10 districts in the state. It presents a grim profile of the drug abusers- about 76% opioid-dependent individuals in Punjab are in the age group of 18 to 35 years. 89% of them are literate and have some degree of formal education and almost all of them are employed.

The most dangerous finding of the survey was the percentage of drug intake through the injecting route. About one-third take their opioid drugs through the injecting route. The sharing of injection equipment among drug users contributes significantly to the spread of the HIV epidemic and represents one of the highest risks of HIV transmission in India.

A recent sentinel surveillance finding of NACO suggests Punjab facing rising trend from previously moderate/low prevalence of HIV.

In the first two weeks of January in 2016, Punjab Police arrested 5 people, including two BSF constables on charge of drug smuggling. One of the BSF constables later admitted that he had been receiving money from a well known Lahore-based drug smuggler by the name of Imtiaz. He was involved in helping a cartel of drugs and arms smugglers infiltrate heroin and weapons into India. It is alleged that the terrorists who attacked Pathankot air base may have entered India taking the drug route assisted by a drugs racket.

The Punjab border areas have posed a great challenge for the security personnel to stop smugglers from secretly importing drugs, FICN and arms. In October 2015, BSF submitted a report to the UMHA on the Narco trafficking in Punjab from across the border. The report detailed the sober condition of drug abuse in Punjab.

Available data suggests between 2010 and 2014, the BSF seized 367 kilograms of heroin and 119 arms. However considering the extent and magnitude of number and cases of drug abuse in Punjab, the seizure seems to be a negligible percentage of total quantity of drugs smuggled from across the border.

Many officials from Punjab have in the past demanded NIA probe into links between drug smugglers and politicians. The prominent among them is former ADGP (intelligence) Shashi Kant, who has claimed that politicians across the spectrum are directly and indirectly involved in drug smuggling.

 Recently, Wrestler-turned-drug peddler Jagdish Singh Bhola claimed that Bikram Singh Majithia, Punjab’s Revenue Minister was also involved in the multi- crore drug trafficking racket. Another arrested drug lord has named few of the top rank police officials involved in drug smuggling

The increasing opioid problem has become a menace in the state of Punjab. The outbreak did not happen overnight and is a result of decades of political and institutional negligence. The rise in cases of drug dependents suggests that the state government and its institutions have failed to take necessary steps to curb the growing threat of drugs.

The high percentage of youths trapped in drug abuse is detrimental to both economic growth and social fabric of the state. The rising cases of crime are also related to drugs, where lack of money is forcing youths to commit crimes. Decline in agricultural productivity and large scale unemployment is only exacerbating woes and deepening the crisis.

*Gaurav Dixit is an independent analyst working on strategic issues concerning India. He can be reached at: