Home minister Amit Shah assures full support to Punjab in war on drugs
Home minister Amit Shah said that the drug problem is greater in Punjab as it is a border state and therefore, more effort will have to be made to tackle it
: Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday assured all support to Punjab in its fight against drugs, calling on states to come together to tackle the scourge, as he virtually witnessed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) destroy 31,000 kg of drugs in four cities.
He was speaking at the National Conference on ‘Drug Trafficking and National Security’ here.
The chief ministers of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, administrator of Chandigarh, officers of the Border Security Force, National Investigating Agency and NCB as well as chiefs of the anti-narcotics task force (ANTF) of the respective states and members of Narco Coordination Center (NCORD) were present at the conference.
Shah said that the drug problem is greater in Punjab as it is a border state and therefore, more effort will have to be made to tackle it.
“The Government of India stands shoulder to shoulder with Punjab in the fight against drugs, to free the youth of Punjab from drugs and we are with Punjab in whatever the state requires,” Shah said.
The Union minister assured that the Centre will provide strong support to Punjab’s anti-drug fight under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said that the Centre will also set up a forensic lab in Amritsar as well as open a center of the NCB which will provide training in tackling the drug problem in the state.
31,000 kg of drugs destroyed
Under the 75-day drug eradication campaign, Shah virtually witnessed the NCB destroy 31,000 kg of drugs in Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati and Kolkata.
Shah said that under the campaign from June to August 15, till today, 82,000 kg of drugs have been destroyed and on August 15, the quantity will reach one lakh kg with an estimated black market value of around ₹ 3,000 crore.
The quantity of drugs seized has more than doubled. Between 2006 and 2013, 1.52 lakh kg of drugs were seized, while between 2014 and 2022, 3.3 lakh kg of drugs have been seized.
From 2006 to 2013, drugs worth ₹ 768 crore were caught, while between 2014 and 2021, the Centre has run a campaign to capture and destroy drugs worth ₹ 20 thousand crore.
Shah said that he has great expectations from the states as the Centre alone cannot fight this battle. The state’s battle is more than that of the Centre and only then will results be seen.
“A state cannot fight this alone, we all together have to carry this fight forward,” he added.
Even in case of large seizure of drugs, the Union home minister requested the states not to make it a Centre-state issue. Wherever the states feel that this matter goes outside the state border, they should cooperate with NCB and NIA.
“We have identified 272 districts and more than 80,000 villages. We are clear where we have to fight this battle. Every person, every agency should take up this fight strongly in their respective areas,” said Shah.
NCORD portal launched
The minister also launched the NCORD portal on the occasion.
“From this portal, all agencies across the country will not only be able to get information, but they will also be able to exchange best practices of NCORD,” he said.
“The ministry of home affairs is working on a three tier formula for strengthening the institutional structure, empowerment and coordination of all narco agencies, comprehensive awareness campaigns and de-addiction,” Shah said, adding that 21 states have also constituted anti-narcotics task forces.
To prevent misuse of dual-use drugs, a permanent inter-ministerial committee has been formed with the ministry of health and family welfare and the ministry of chemicals.
“There is a need to act quickly to curb drugs. Both dark web and cryptocurrency trading are intertwined and the home ministry recently constituted a task force on the dark web and cryptocurrencies,” said Shah.
Shah said that an agreement has been signed between the NCB and National Forensic Science University, wherein they will provide guidance in establishing a modern forensic lab in any state.” ENDS