ibnlive » India

Jun 20, 2007 at 09:48pm IST

Sniffing danger on charas trail

Kullu valley: Over 3,000 acre of fertile land is being used to cultivate cannabis in the upper reaches of the Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh.

A CNN-IBN special investigation team went undercover to the valley and found that villages which don’t even exist on the map are controlled, to a large extent, by the foreign drug mafia.

It’s these cannabis – commonly known as charas - fields that make Himachal a key supplier of the drug to the world drug mafia.

Local drug dealers say that entire villages are employed in producing charas including villages that don't even exist on the map.

The villages in the drug are often given familiar names to confuse the police.

“Mallana has a village called Kutla, a lot of other villages are called Kutla,” says a middleman Sheru.

For people living in these unmapped villages on the fringes of the drug fields, rubbing charas for middlemen like Sheru is a way of life.

Apart from local villagers, the drug mafia also uses cheap Nepali labor to rub and process charas all day.

CNN-IBN: So you make it all day?

Nepali Labour: Yes.

CNN-IBN: How much do you get in a day?

Nepali Labour: Rs 120 per day.

CNN-IBN: So how much you make in a day.

Nepali Labour: Two tolas, 20 grams.

Posing as foreign drug dealers, the CNN-IBN Special Investigation Team filmed charas fields in the upper Parvati Valley, the police concede that these remote fields are hard to find.

These people are manning the fields at a height where it’s difficult for the enforcement agencies to operate. Safe from the police, the local drug mafia is thriving.


Sheru: There are local mafias.

CNN-IBN: Mafia? You have a mafia here?

Sheru: Big mafias deal in hundreds of kilos

And now even foreign drug dealers have their own illegal charas fields.

CNN-IBN: Do foreigners have fields up there?

Middleman: Yeah. They have fields, tents and everything up there including kitchens.

CNN-IBN: But how can foreigners buy land up there?

Middleman: Every year, they come, they pay much money to workers, the owners give.

CNN-IBN: If I want to buy a field up there, how much should I pay?

Middleman: For one acre, the yield is 40 kg, you pay Rs 10,000.

While filming undercover with drug tourists at a rave party, CNN-IBN SIT was told that the police are hand in glove with them.

CNN-IBN: Isn’t there any cop trouble?

Drug peddler: No, it’s just for newspapers. You go to Malan and burn one field. There are 20,000 fields out there. Malana produce 800 kg per season, 80 kgs of it comes to Israel.

Clearly the risk is worth the return. A gram of charas worth Rs 25 in Kullu fetches Rs 3000 in Holland, which means these Hebrew and Italian signboards in the towns are probably here to stay.

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