Express press service
KOCHI: The neighborhood’s artificial playgrounds will soon be forced to close at midnight. The district administration’s decision to impose restrictions follows reports that peddlers are selling drugs under the cover of these territories. District Collector Jafar Malik said senior police officers were asked to file a report after a thorough inspection of the artificial turfs.
“The police will receive a directive to investigate the matter. A report on this has also been requested from the district police chiefs. If the report indicates the presence of drug sales under cover of these playgrounds, strict measures will be put in place. Based on the report, lawn hours will be restricted,” the collector said.
The Kannur district collector has already issued an order restricting the operation of artificial playgrounds after police found peddlers selling drugs. According to excise officials, several public complaints about the drug problem have already been received.
“The grass pitches have become a gathering place for drug dealers and buyers. The majority of drug dealers target students to sell drugs. Because students can easily obtain permission from their parents to go out in the evening, these playgrounds have become with them a meeting place for drug traffickers. We have already received a few reports of drug trafficking under the cover of these territories, but we have not yet found any evidence,” said an officer on condition of anonymity.
Large numbers of young people roam the streets late at night in the name of turf wars, according to a Kochi city police officer. “We interviewed several young people who were in the city around midnight. While some claim to come back from turfs, many take advantage of these turfs running at night to venture out. It is true that they have links with drug traffickers. We need to investigate further to uncover their role in the drug trade,” the officer said.
Ernakulam Rural Police Chief K Karthick said night patrols would be intensified. “We carry out inspections around midnight. But more patrol units will be deployed. If someone is found in suspicious circumstances, they will be questioned and taken into custody if found in possession of drugs,” Karthick said.