Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned about the acute drug problem in Punjab in his 'Mann ki Baat' programme on radio, state deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal Tuesday said Modi and the home minister should take steps to stop the entry of drugs into the state.
"I will raise the issue of cross border 'narco-terrorism' with Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh and write a letter to stop pilferage of drugs and narcotics in the state as Punjab is being used as a transit route by the drug peddlers," Badal told reporters here.
"Punjab has a 553-km-long international border with Pakistan, which further has a border with Afghanistan, which is known for production of drugs. Punjab has zero production of drugs but is a victim of narcotics smuggling," said Badal, who is upset as Punjab was singled out by Modi for the drugs reference.
The Punjab government and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal have, in recent years, drawn flak for not doing enough to control Punjab's drug problem. The names of prominent Akali leaders, ministers and their kin have been linked to the drugs trade.
"Punjab is being used by peddlers as a transit route from Afghanistan and Pakistan and the state is working day and night to plug all the channels to stop the inflow of drugs to the state," he said.
Badal pointed out that the security of the international border was the primary duty of the Border Security Force (BSF) and sought that the BSF should stop the illegal flow of drugs from across the border.
Seeking a complete ban on legal cultivation and sale of opium and poppy husk in BJP-ruled states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Badal said that drug peddlers used to smuggle narcotics to Punjab and other states.
"Punjab is fighting the nations' war against drugs as Punjab Police have seized the highest percentage of drugs by any state across the country. Besides, nearly 30,000 smugglers were put behind bars in a special drive against drugs," he pointed out.
Badal's Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are running a coalition government in Punjab since 2007.