Congress MLAs tried to put the Badal government on the mat in the assembly for its "failure" to check open sale of drugs as well as IMLF and country liquor at unauthorised vends across Punjab.
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Congress MLA Aruna Chaudhary told the House that sale of liquor openly by unauthorised vends was taking place in her Dina Nagar constituency along the international border in Gurdaspur district.
As against only 75 liquor vends approved by the Punjab government and authorised to sell liquor, she said, she had found in a detailed survey that there were 163 such shops selling all kinds of liquor with impunity.
"So much so that I have even found liquor being sold by ration depot holders in my area," said Chaudhary while producing a set of picture showing bottles of liquor stacked inside a ration depot.
Chaudhary said that just as pizza and burger were home delivered in big cities, liquor mafia was delivering Indian Made Foreign Liquor and Punjab Made Liquor at the doorsteps of the consumers.
These unauthorized vends delivered liquor at home on order. Some of them were also offering one bottle free with every bottle the consumers purchased.
"This is a very dangerous trend and the biggest sufferers are women while men are being sucked into the quagmire by the liquor mafia for their vested interests," said Chaudhary while informing the House that though she had made several complaints to district and state authorities, nothing had been done in this regard.
She said that her party's MLAs had confided that such unauthorised sale of liquor was prevalent in the entire state and the SAD-BJP government was doing nothing to stop the illegal activity.
Chaudhary wanted Punjab excise and taxation minister to make a statement on the floor of the House to assure that the illegal sale of liquor would be ended. However, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who hold the portfolio, was not present in the House.
Though Chaudhary insisted that someone from the SAD-BBJP government make a statement, especially Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, but none from the treasury benches got up to respond.
However, when Chaudhary still insisted, Speaker Charannjit Singh Atwal said that the opposition could not force the ministers to make a statement on the issue raised during the Zero Hour.
Congress MLA from Batala, Ashwani Sekhri, also endorsed Chaudhary's concern about drugs such as cocaine and smack making inroads into households of Punjab, especially in border districts.
Sekhri said he had conducted a survey to find the impact of drugs on the youth in Gandhi Nagar ward in his constituency.
"To my horror, during the last six months, at least 86 youths had lost their lives to drugs. I have brought this matter to the notice of authorities several times but nothing has moved. Most of these drugs are smuggled from across the border," said Sekhri.
Sekhri said instead of dealing with this problem with regular policing, the government should take special measures to check this menace and save Punjab's youths.
Valtoha shifts blame on BSF
Shiromani Akali Dal MLA from Khemkaran, Virsa Singh Valtoha, blamed the Border security Force BSF) for the smuggling of drugs from across the border. "The mafia is involved in smuggling of drugs from across the border with the active connivance of BSF. Nothing can move in and around the border belt without the active involvement of the BSF, especially during nights when it is absolutely curfew-like situation there," said Valtoha.