Reiterating his vow of wiping out the drug menace from Punjab, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday said he would soon call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Rajnath Singh, seeking their intervention on plugging the supply of drugs from across the border.
"The utmost concern of the state government at present is to make Punjab a drug-free state and to achieve this, the support of the union government is imperative to cut the supply of drugs from across the border," Badal said on the sidelines of the oath-taking ceremony of three newly inducted cabinet ministers at Punjab Raj Bhawan here.
Responding to queries from mediapersons, the chief minister said he would soon take up the drug issue with the Prime Minister and union home minister. Besides stepping up vigil along the international borders, Badal said he would also urge the Centre to ban the sale of drugs like poppy husk in the neighbouring states like Rajasthan.
He said, "The state government will leave no stone unturned to save Punjab from the scourge of drugs and effectively rehabilitate the drug addicts." Badal said the state government had been pursuing a twin strategy of countering the drug menace by crackdown on drug peddlers and launching a drive to rehabilitate the drug addicts.
Badal said drug de-addiction centres across the state were being strengthened so as to impart quality treatment and counselling to drug addicts.
"I have personally visited some drug de-addiction centres running across the state," he said.
Other hot-button issues
The chief minister said he would also raise several other important issues with the central government during his visits on June 12-13 and June 17-18. Badal said he had already directed the officers to prepare comprehensive plans to be submitted to the Centre.
Referring to the proposal of interlinking of rivers at national level, Badal said the SAD was a strong votary of the internationally accepted law of the Riparian principles to settle the river water disputes among the states within the spirit and ambit of this globally acknowledged statute. He impressed upon the Centre to give due weightage to the Riparian law saying no union government should ignore this principle before taking any final decision relating to inter-state water issues.
In an indirect reference to the blame game going on between the SAD-BJP over the poor performance of the coalition partners in the recently held Lok Sabha elections, Badal said none of the cabinet ministers could be held solely responsible for the functioning of the state government as it was the collective responsibility of the council of ministers, which ought to be shared equally by one and all.
'Zira issue an internal matter'
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday indirectly acknowledged the banner of revolt unfurled by veteran Akali Dal leader and sitting MLA Hari Singh Zira after being denied the cabinet berth.
Replying to a query if Zira had resigned from the Akali Dal as well as from the Vidhan Sabha as an MLA, the chief minister said, "It is an internal matter of the party, which will be resolved amicably."
Claiming that Zira had not resigned as an MLA, the chief minister said the SAD leader from Zira commanded huge respect and that he had been a disciplined soldier and torch-bearer of the Akali Dal.