Thiruvananthapuram: The number of schools in the state targeted by the narcotics mafia has gone up to 1,100. There were only 250 schools on the list prepared by Excise Intelligence last September.
In order to strengthen the vigil ahead of the new academic year, the Excise Commissioner ordered a new assessment. In the report prepared in response to this order, the number went up to 1,100.
The criteria applied while preparing this report were the number of drug cases in the school's vicinity, the use of drugs in the area, and the interaction of students with the drug mafia.
The report pointed out that the members of the drug mafia camped on the waysides leading to the school and also in the school's vicinity. The report prepared by Excise Intelligence last September mentioned Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts as the most affected, with 39 and 25 schools, respectively.
This time, the list has been prepared on a range-based basis. There are 114 excise ranges in the state. A total of 10 sensitive schools have been identified in each range.
Malayala Manorma had previously published the intelligence report an the High Court suo motu intervened in the issue, asking the Excise Commissioner to inform it of the steps taken in these schools.
The high-level meeting of the Excise Department officials held on Friday decided to hand over the list of sensitive schools to the Excise Ranges and tighten the surveillance. Mufti patrolling will be launched in such school surroundings this week itself.
Earlier, it was decided to entrust the supervision of each school in the state to an excise official. In the wake of the murder of Dr Vandana by a drug addict, Excise Commissioner S Ananda Krishnan asked officials in the meeting to take extra vigil while handling such people.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) under the Central Government has also devised strategies to place the schools and their surroundings in the state under close watch from the very beginning of this academic year itself.