‘260 per cent increase in arrests made’
3.3 lakh kg of drugs were seized between 2014-2021
KD NEWS SERVICE
CHANDIGARH, July 30: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the Centre’s zero-tolerance policy towards narcotics is showing results and emphasised that states work in tandem with the Centre in the fight against the menace of drugs.
Amit Shah, who was on a day-long visit to Chandigarh, also spoke about steps being taken by the Centre to weed out the problem of drugs while asserting that the zero-tolerance policy towards drugs was necessary to achieve the objective of a healthy society and prosperous nation.
Also, it was important from the security point of view as “the dirty money which is generated from the drug trade is used in activities against the country”, the minister said after inaugurating a two-day national conference on drug trafficking and national security.
The conference is organised by the Narcotics Control Bureau.
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and NCB chief SN Pradhan were present in the conference. Amit Shah also spoke about establishment of fast-track and exclusive courts for drugs-related matters.
Pointing out that the drug problem was more in Punjab, Amit Shah assured complete support of the Narendra Modi government to the state for its fight against the menace. He said the Centre will set up a forensic lab and a small centre of NCB in Punjab.
Mr Shah said, “Today Punjab Chief is here. Everyone is saying this drug problem is more in Punjab and I feel that drug problem is more in Punjab. It is a border state and if the problem is more then we will have to make more efforts.”
“If the state government allots land, the Centre will set up a forensic lab in Amritsar and a small centre of NCB for training purpose,” he said.
Laying emphasis on joint efforts for solving the drug problem, Mr Shah said, “The Government of India stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Punjab government to fight drug menace. We know we have to pull out the youth of Punjab from the drug menace. We stand with whatever efforts it makes.”
While spelling out steps to check drug abuse, Mr Shah said there has been a 200 per cent increase in the number of cases registered. During the past seven years (2014-2021), there has been a 260 per cent increase in arrests made, he said.
Mr Shah said 1.52 lakh kg of drugs were confiscated between 2006-2013 while 3.3 lakh kg of drugs were seized between 2014-2021.
Between 2006 and 2013, Rs 768 crore worth of drugs were seized and the figure went up to Rs 20,000 crore in the 2014-21 period, he said.
He added when Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014, the government of India adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs, while adding the fight against drugs, which was progressing swiftly and in the right direction, has started showing results.
Mr Shah said that drugs adversely impact the younger generation, harming them like termites, and stressed that the government was committed to eliminating the scourge. “We have to weed it out completely,” he said.
Coinciding with the conference, nearly 31,000 kg of drugs were destroyed by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) teams in Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati and Kolkata in the virtual presence of Mr Shah.
He said various Ministries including Home, Education, Social Justice and Empowerment, Health, in coordination with various agencies including NCB have joined hands in the fight against drugs.
He said the Home Ministry has adopted a multi-pronged approach to prevent inimical forces from using “the dirty money” generated from drug trade for anti-India activities.
“We have adopted a proactive approach to connect states with it (the fight against drugs),” he said.
“The results which we have got are encouraging and it shows that the problem is not such whose solution cannot be found or weeded out completely,” Mr Shah said as he also laid stress on adopting a “whole-of-government’ approach to combat the drug menace.
“In this fight, to bring states together and fight against this scourge with synergy is very important,” he noted.
All agencies and others who are involved in fighting against this menace should complement each other’s efforts, he said.
Stating that the fight against drugs cannot be fought by the Centre alone, Mr Shah said when the states’ speed to fight against this scourge is more than double of that of the Union government, the results come.
On big seizure drug cases, he told the states not to make it a Centre-state matter and said that they should hand over such cases which are beyond their jurisdiction to either NCB or the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“We want resolution of the problem and I want to assure that these two central agencies will investigate by taking the states into confidence,” he said.
“I urge you that we should come and fight together,” he said.
He said the talks are on with the Supreme Court for setting up fast-track courts and exclusive courts.
He said that the five northern states, especially Punjab, and the Northeast were facing the problem of drugs.
He further emphasised on coordination among the five states for checking the problem of drug smuggling, adding that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and many other agencies were working on combating the problem of drones.
Asking the states to keep a watch on new drug smuggling routes, Mr Shah said that out of total seizures in the last one year, 81 per cent of narcotics came through the sea route.
For coordination among various central and state agencies, the Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) mechanism was set up by the Home Ministry in 2016.
“We have to give more thrust on district level because they are crucial if the desired results in the fight against drugs have to be achieved,” Mr Shah noted. (Agencies)