Famous for its raves and other all-nighters, Goa now needs to check if it can party with the Home Ministry.It was upto the local administration, usually District Collectors, to sanction permission for large parties. Now, the state’s Home Minister will decide who can party, where, and for how long.The goal is to check the drugs sold and used openly at these parties.The same Home Minister whose made this his priority had, just two months ago, told NDTV that drugs were not a problem for Goa. “No, it’s only because of the media. Otherwise there are no drugs. Just go out and see, there are no drugs. This is created by the media and the papers. Goa is so peaceful,” said Ravi Naik early in January. (Read: No drugs in Goa, claims government
)His assurance seemed weak even then coming as it did just hours after a young girl from Delhi died of an overdose. She reportedly used drugs while attending a music festival in Goa. (Read: 23-year-old Delhi girl dies of drug overdose in Goa
“I am directed to convey that in view of the law and order problem and reported use of narcotic substances, all dance parties and festivals, excluding traditional dance parties and festivals and weddings, shall have to take permission of Home Department,” the new order signed by Under Secretary (Home), Government of Goa, Siddhivinayak Naik, reads.
The government may have decided to crackdown on Goa’s flourishing and notorious drug cartels. But the odds don’t look good unless the Anti-Narcotics Cell gets a whole lot of padding. Officials say they need at least a hundred field officers to cover the entire state; they have 17. The entire cell has one jeep. Raids wait while teams wait for hired cars to arrive. There’s one sniffer dog who should be enjoying his retirement, and there are no drug detection devices.
Not a picture that fills the Anti-Narcotics Cell with optimism. But the Home Ministry’s order provides one big breakthrough, its members say. The local police, which is often hand-in-glove with drug cartels, will find it more difficult now to shield drug peddlers.